Fall 2016 Recap
Well, I know we're a little late on updating everyone on our first Fall season, so apologies for that. We've been hard at work brewing up our Christmas/Winter beers and just haven't had too much time to sit down and reflect. The main thing that we've learned after our first round of seasonal beers is that time absolutely flies. We've never brewed close to the amount of beer we have in the past three months but, it has been insanely fun and certainly a learning experience.
We started out with a Pumpkin Ale. This beer we call Abobora was an interesting process to say the least. It was really a safe first seasonal beer to tackle since the world is obsessed with anything pumpkin spice these days. In the past we have gone off of beer kits that we ordered from online retailers just brewing a batch here and there for special occasions. With Abobora we wanted to take a small step further by tweaking certain recipes and attempt to jump start the creative process. Many beginner recipes asked for a large amount of pumpkin spices along with some canned pumpkin. For the most part the base ingredients remained similar throughout many recipes we looked into but, after some research we noticed that a lot of brewers were utilizing squash as pumpkins actually lacked flavor and were pretty bland.
The flavors for this beer consisted of a combination of organic canned pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and a caramelized butternut squash harvest from a local farm in Vermont. After cooling off the wort we prepped the fermentor as per usual. Side note: this was the first batch of beer we have made since my wife and I had moved into our new home so a lot of my brewing equipment was packed away.
I thought that I had everything that we needed but, once the wort was poured into the fermentor I realized that we were missing an airlock to seal the beer. My heart began to race as I was worried about ruining the first batch of beer brewed under the Terra Costa name. I quickly took to the homebrewing forums in search of some sort of miracle that it was ok to ferment a beer without an airlock. Queue first learning experience....turns out you can indeed ferment in an open air environment. Im absolutely positive that this beer would have turned out a worlds difference with another type of fermenting technique but, we working with what we had at the time.
The finished product known as Abobora had a cider-esque feel to it - mostly due to some esters and wild yeast getting into the open air fermenter. For the most part the beer came out very drinkable. It was a big hit with a number of people. The pumpkin flavor was spot on - not over spiced and just a hint of pumpkin. A really enjoyable fall beer. We'll do a pumpkin beer each fall but, Im thinking of changing up the style next year, maybe something a little on the darker side.
Next up was Devil's Kettle. This beer turned out to be the favorite amongst our friends and family this season. This brown ale came in with a final abv of 10% and packed a smokey punch. Devils Kettle was inspired by a small town on Sao Miguel Island called Furnas. You can read more about the story behind Furnas on our BEERS page. We also wanted to create a new tradition via this brew. We're big hockey fans here at Terra Costa and we decided to brew a beer on opening night of the New Jersey Devils' season. The response of this beer was so positive that many people asked if Devils Kettle would become a flagship beer. After thinking about the request I think we decided to keep this as a seasonal beer. We want to keep Devils Kettle a season tradition and have it be something everyone looks forward to.
Speaking of flagship beers, it was our intention to have one of our flagships brews included with the Fall lineup. We curated a recipe for a signature IPA called Chop Hops however, the whole time management of having a brewery (even a homebrewery) took its toll. We missed the fall season kick off party by about 1 week and a half in order to have this beer part of the lineup. The fall tasting party was a great success. Good news is....This beer is just about done conditioning and ready to be enjoyed. Chop Hops is so aromatic brewed with fresh 2016 harvest hops from Yakima Valley. We're very excited to share this beer with everyone.
We invited our friends and family over to try our first batch of beers. The event was a great success and the beers were received with positive reviews. We turned the event into a giant bottle share since we can't sell our homebrew we just wanted to share it with friends while giving everyone the opportunity to try some other new beers with intentions to bulk up their Untappd numbers. We certainly look forward to more Terra Costa seasonal tasting events/bottle share nights in 2017.
The cold weather also brought an end to our first season of our Nugget hops that we planted this spring. In the first year these plants do not produce any brew-able hops but, we did see some small cones and flowers sprout this year which was exciting. We're looking forward to watch these plants grow and mature next spring/summer. After taking down the vines, we planted some winter rye to keep our plot clear of weeds and help with absorbing the winter weather.
The Christmas/Winter season are bringing some new brews to Terra Costa. We'll be able to share our first flagship beer, Chop Hops, a stout we call Pasteis De Nata (yes, it's what you think...a stout inspired by the famous Portuguese pastry, Pasteis De Natas) and a Christmas Ale we are calling Boas Festas These beers are currently in our fermentors and should be bottled within the next week and will be ready to be enjoyed by Christmas Eve.
It's been an eventful three months and we're looking forward to 2017. Thank you for all the support, its been really cool to have so many people showing interest in following our journey. Happy Holidays to you and your families. Cheers to a kick ass 2017!
-The Terra Costa Brewing Family