Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout
Last week, homebrewer Ken Schmidt teamed up with Iron Fist Brewing Co.’s Brandon Sieminski and Stone Brewing Co.’s Mitch Steele to brew a scaled-up version of Pillow Mint at the Ritz, which took top honors at the Stone March Madness Homebrew Competition & AHA Rally. Using organically-grown mint from Stone Farms and the gardens of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, alongside organically-grown, stone-ground cacao liquor from SoCal chocolatier Chocovivo, the team is attempting to replicate the bold and complex flavors of the original homebrew, likened to a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie or an Andes mint. “I was a judge at the rally, and it was amazing how well the flavors worked together,” said Steele.
In a few ways this is a “reunion brew” for the three collaborators: Schmidt won the 2009 rendition of the same homebrew competition, leading to the Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter. Sieminski wasn’t part of that squad, but he did work at the bistro for a spell and was excited to be back — this time on the brew deck: “This beer is right up our alley, and I’ll probably be having dreams about this system for months,” he said. Sieminski was chosen as the third collaborator by Schmidt after careful consideration. “I asked Stone if they wanted someone local, and they pretty much left that decision up to me. I decided to go with Brandon from Iron Fist because I really like the Sieminski family and how they’ve all gotten behind their young brewmaster.”
Quantity produced: 340 barrels
Release date: Early July
Monkey Paw Brewing / KnB Wine Cellars (Name TBD) Gose
This 1000-year old beer style is named for the naturally saline water of the Gose river which flows through the town center of Goslar, Germany. The style became very popular in the nearby city of Leipzig and is similar to Berliner Weiss, but the addition of coriander and salt means it did not strictly conform to the “Reinheitsgebot” German Beer Purity Law of using only hops, barley, and water (yeast was not known to be an ingredient of beer before Louis Pasteur in the 1800s). After the unification of Germany, Gose was granted exception to the Reinheitsgebot rule as a regional specialty outside of Bavaria.
As far as we know, this style had not been commercially produced in San Diego before Tuesday, when brewer Derek Freese (Monkey Paw) and collaborator Adam Parker (KnB Wine Cellars) began their experiment in flavor. Over the next few days Freese will perform a sour mashing technique using Lactobacillus delbrueckii in the kettle, having enlisted the advice of Ballast Point/Home Brew Mart’s Colby Chandler (Sour Wench Blackberry Ale brewer) and Karl Strauss’ Paul Segura (Flan-Diddly-Anders Red Ale brewer). Because Freese and Parker didn’t have the same German water to work with, they’ll be adding the necessary salt to the uncarbonated beer next week, after taste-testing several salts from the KnB kitchen mixed with beer pulled off the fermentors.
Quantity produced: 10 barrels
Release date: Noon on June 30 at KnB Wine Cellars’ 4-Year Anniversary Party