The Lager Beer Riot Reenactment! April 25, 2015

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To mark the 160th anniversary of the Lager Beer Riot, Chicago’s first act of civil disturbance, and to celebrate the city’s growing beer culture, Pocket Guide to Hell and Marz Community Brewing Company are hosting an audience interactive dodgeball reenactment and beer tasting on Saturday, April 25, 2015 starting at 6 pm. The event is part of Version Festival 15 and is a fundraiser for Benton House, the historic nonprofit charitable center in Bridgeport. BUY TICKETS HERE!

The Lager Beer Riot occurred at the Clark Street Bridge in April 1855. The reenactment is going to be staged in the Benton House gymnasium as a game of dodgeball following National Amateur Dodgeball Association rules.

One team, consisting of representatives of Law & Order under the command of Mayor Levi Boone, is to be made up of 10 representatives of Chicago area breweries.

The revolting Irish and German bar owners are to be portrayed by 10 representatives of the Bridgeport community.

The Strange Brews podcasters (Alison Cuddy and Andrew Gill) are going to provide play-by-play coverage with color commentary from Randy Mosher (The Map Room, Five Rabbit) and Tim Samuelson (City of Chicago Cultural Historian).

Historical referees, halftime music by Brass Inferno Productions, and a working model of the Clark Street bridge round out the experience.

The Lager Beer Riot reenactment is going to consist, per NADA rules, of 10 three-minute matches, with an 11th if a tiebreaker is needed. There will be a halftime show after 5 matches are played.

A beer tasting of specially brewed beers run from 6-9 pm at Benton House in the remains of the former Ramova Grill.

Participating Breweries:

Marz Community Brewing Company

Revolution Brewing

Goose Island Brewing

Haymarket Pub & Brewery

Middle Brow Beer Co.

Urban Legend Brewing Company

Spiteful Brewing Company

Ten Ninety Brewing Company

Cademon Brewing Company

Ale Syndicate

Tickets:

$30 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, 10 beer tickets, and a special issue of Mash Tun.

$40 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, 10 beer tickets, the special issue of Mash Tun, and a limited edition event poster by Kathleen Judge. (Limit 20)
$50 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, 10 beer tickets, the special issue of Mash Tun, limited edition event poster, and the chance to play in one of the 10 dodgeball matches (Limit 10)

Proceeds benefit the programs offered by Benton House

 

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Drinking up The Chicago Flag

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We are loving the Drinking Up The Chicago Flag series that is in progress on the ChooseChicago website. Our new pal, Elizabeth Garibay, is writing about Chicago beer history using the five stars of the flag as starting points for her tales. Here are the links to the  Star 1, Star 2 and Star 3  stories   #4 and #5 will be published in forthcoming weeks.  Enjoy the reads!

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Feb 14: The Power of Sour

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Marz Community Brewing Co presents: The Power of Sour

Feb 14, 2015 4-8pm

Western Exhibitions • 845 W Washington Blvd. 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60607

Marz Community Brewing is excited to bring you an anti-Valentines Day event on Sunday, February 14th at Western Exhibitions.

We have been dying to do an Art of Marz Brewing event with Paul Nudd, one of our favorite painters, trouble makers and friends along with his gallery, Western Exhibitions. Paul made the painting of the “Bubbly Creek” monster which adorns our Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss bottles. For this event we are releasing a limited edition four color silk screened print made especially for this Power of Sour event. And Paul’s work will also be on view.

To enjoy Paul’s art Marz will be sampling out our expanding line of South Side Sours. Our sour ales are made with a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum discovered by Marz Brewer, Al Robertson, and isolated by Omega Yeast labs. It’s our secret weapon in converting beer drinkers to a style of sour ales that are tart, mildly acidic, delicious and made here in Chicago.

During the Power of Sour event we will provide complementary pours of our Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss, The Duchess de Bridgeport sour brown ale and our brand spanking new Gose style beer called Ruby’s Tears. Sampling glasses will be provided by our sister project, Mash Tun Journal.

A suggested donation of $15 will get you one of the prints made by Paul. If you want to guarantee you will receive one of the edition of 100 or so prints you must purchase Admission online at EventBrite. The link is below :

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-power-of-sour-tickets-15611467319

See ya there.

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Mash Tun Five Pack

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Mash Tun Journal
is a perfect gift for your beer geek buddy. Get all 5 issues of the Journal for $35!
We sell em at UnderTheCounterCulture

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2014 FoBAB Winners

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The 2014 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB) is bigger than ever this year – expanding to three sessions over two days (Nov. 14 and 15) with over 90 breweries serving up at least 300 beers that have been in contact with wood. The beers are judged by a panel of industry experts, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to beers in 11 categories.  This year was a tipping point for the festival. It will soon become one of the world’s most important and must attend craft beer festivals. Go Chicago! Go BRoBAB!

2014 National Wood-Aged Beer Competition Results at FoBAB

Best of Show

Port Brewing Veritas 013
Runner up: Perennial Barrel Aged Abraxas

Classic Porter / Stout

Gold: Saugatuck Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout
Silver: 5 Rabbit Barrel Aged Yodo Con Leche
Bronze: Perrin Lil Griz

Strong Porter / Stout

Gold: Pipeworks Barrel Aged Jones Dog
Silver: Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti
Bronze: 4 Hands Barrel Aged Bonafide with Cinnamin

Barleywine / Wheatwine

Gold: Revolution Straightjacket
Silver: 4 Hands Volume 2
Bronze: Firestone Walker Abacus 2013

Classic Styles

Gold: Ei8ght Ball Reintarnation
Silver: Glacier Beam Marzen
Bronze: Sun King Soul Shakedown Party

Strong / Double / Imperial Pale Beer

Gold: Revolution Filibuster
Silver: Southern Prohibition Barrel Aged Mississippi Fire Ant
Bronze: Rock Bottom Chicago Gin Blitz

Strong / Double / Imperial Dark Beer

Gold: Milwaukee Brewing Louie’s Resurrection
Silver: Sun King Sympathy for the Devil
Bronze: Glacier Buffalo Trace Eisbock

Fruit Beer

Gold: Off Color Yuzu Er’d Og Begravet
Silver: Lake Effect Cerise De Michigan
Bronze: Goose Island Clybourn Vainglorious

Experimental Beer

Gold: Perennial Barrel Aged Abraxas
Silver: Breakside Aquavit Barrel Aged IPA
Bronze: Temperance Boulevardier Barrel Aged Might Meets Right

Wild Beer / Brett

Gold: Off Color Papillon
Silver: Trinity Easy Swinger Wild IPA
Bronze: Oakshire Hermanne 1882

Wild Beer / Acidic

Gold: Port Brewing Veritas
Silver: Trinity 365 Day Sour
Bronze: AC Golden Dark Creek

Cider / Perry / Mead

Gold: Virtue Lapinette
Silver: Vermont Wyder’s Reposado Pear
Bronze: Vandermill Chapman’s Oats

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Meet Your Equipment: The Mash Tun

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Meet The Mash Tun – from Issue #5

By Dave Kahle

 

If you’ve ever been on a brewery tour, the guide rarely gives you much detail about the brewing equipment – and rightfully so, as most people just want to get to the tasting room at the end. Most of us look at all of this brewing equipment in wonder. It has a magical feeling about it. How do all of these intimidating, giant pieces of metal, with a labyrinth of pipes and hoses connected to them, produce this simple pleasure in a glass? While I don’t want to downplay the well thought out engineering of a modern brewhouse, there’s no reason to look at a brewery as if it’s a NASA testing facility. That being said, this article is the first in a series meant to introduce pieces of brewing equipment, remove some of the mystique, provide detail as to why it’s constructed the way it is and what it’s real purpose is. This won’t make the brewing process any less magical, it will hopefully reveal some of the thought process a brewer must consider in crafting a beer, and why they could be looked at more as artistic laborers than magicians.

 

The mash tun is the first vessel used in a commercial brewery. The goal of mashing is to solubilize malt constituents, primarily extracting fermentable sugars, and dextrins (non-fermentable sugars) from malt. This is done by steeping the malt/grains in hot water. The mash tun is typically a stainless steel vessel, although copper is occasionally used. Copper is a good heat conductor and is malleable, but stainless is much easier to clean and maintain. Following the malt mill, crushed grain is sent to the mash tun. This is generally done with an auger inside of a tube that pushes grain up to a premasher fixed above the mash tun. In this premash mixer the grains are blended with hot water before falling into the mash tun below. The flow rate of both water and grain can be controlled by standard water shut off valves or a knife gate for the incoming grain. Some small breweries use pre-milled grain and pour it by hand from bags into the tun while hot water is introduced directly. When malt and hot water are combined in the tun, it is called, mash. The amount of malt used is approximately 1.5 – 2.5 lbs per gallon. This equates to using ~1000 lbs of malt for a 15 barrel batch of beer. A barrel is 31 gallons and 15 barrels is a standard size for many small American craft breweries to brew at a time.

 

The combination mash/lauter tun is cylindrical and outfitted with perforated plates set a few inches above the bottom. The plates act like a colander allowing the malt grain bed to float above the sugar water extract (now called wort). There is a set of rakes inside the tun that are turned by a motor mounted above the mash tun. These rakes, mixing both horizontally and vertically, move slowly through the mash breaking up any clumping of the grain, insuring an even temperature is maintained throughout and no hot spots or scorching occurs. Enzymes, which we’ll touch on in a bit, are also distributed more evenly with the rakes.

 

The speed of the rakes is often controlled by a computer or control panel. If the rakes spin too fast they will spin all of the mash instead of simply mixing it evenly. Spinning the mash can cause oxygen to be introduced by creating a vortex. Oxygen is generally avoided as much as possible in the mash tun, since oxidative staling compounds can form that carry through to the finished beer, giving the beer stale off flavors. Small or traditional breweries will mix the mash by hand with a mash paddle, if they don’t have a rake system.

 

Most mash tuns are heated by steam through tubes in a jacket that surrounds the vessel. Small breweries can mash with no integrated heat source, as long as the walls of the mash tun are well insulated. This usually means a few inches of insulation jacketing the tun. On rare occasion a brewery will have a direct-fired mash tun. The direct heat can cause an uneven temperature throughout the mash and scorching can occur. Managing the temperature of the mash is the most important variable for a brewer at this stage of the brewing process. In brewing, there are numerous enzymes at work. An enzyme is a chain of amino acids that acts as a catalyst for biochemical reactions. The tricky part of dealing with enzymes is they are temperature sensitive and whether they work quickly or become inactive can be a matter of just a few degrees.

 

The key enzymes in the mash are proteases, which break down proteins, and amylases, which break down carbohydrates into smaller sugars. Brewers control the ratio of fermentable to non-fermentable sugars by setting the temperature of the mash. If the mash temp is in the 140-150F range, Beta Amylase is active, the activity rate increasing with the temperature. Beta Amylase breaks carbs into maltose, which is the most abundant sugar in wort, and is highly fermentable. If a brewer mashed at a temp favorable to Beta Amylase, the finished beer would have less body, a drier mouth-feel, and more alcohol. Alpha Amylase is active in the 148-159F range. Alpha Amylase breaks carbs into slightly longer chain sugars (dextrins) that are generally unfermentable by brewers yeast. However, these dextrins are now easier to break down further by Beta Amylase. If the brewer chooses a temperature that favors Alpha Amylase, the finished beer would have more body, more sweetness, and lower alcohol levels for the amount of grain used.

 

In a large brewery, the mash tun is not the point at which grains are separated from the wort. The mash is pumped to a second vessel called the Lauter Tun, in which the wort is separated from grains, the grains are rinsed to extract more of the sugars and pumped to either a holding tank, or into the brew kettle. In a small or mid sized brewery, the mashing and lautering are often done in the same vessel. With this setup, the grain bed becomes a filter of sorts, as wort is drawn off below the perforated plates and hot sparge (rinse) water is sprayed over the top of the grain, rinsing out more sugars along way. After lautering, sparging, and pumping all of the wort to the brew kettle, the spent grains are either shoveled out of the tun, or pushed out with a grain-out plow. The grain is removed through a door set at the height of the perforated plates. Spent grains are typically given or sold to farmers to feed cattle. This arrangement is ideal for brewers, as thousands of pounds of grain take up a large amount of dumpster space.

 

After the grains are removed, cleaning begins. Typically, a CIP (cleaning in place) protocol entails spraying hot water, with a percentage of caustic solution, through slots in ball shaped CIP heads. These spray balls spin ensuring the cleaning solution hits all parts of the interior of the mash tun. There is another series of spray heads set underneath the false bottom that sprays the cleaning solution upward through the perforations in the plates. This pushes out any grains or husk material that might’ve fallen below.

 

A mash tun serves a relatively simple function, steeping grains in hot water. The tun is outfitted for ease of use, speed, and a largely self-cleaning ability. However it handles a critical point in the brewing process. The brewer must control temperature, water chemistry, ph, oxygen uptake, and flow rates within the mash tun, or the finished beer could have wildly varying results. Consistency is extremely important in a commercial brewery, and it all starts with the Mash Tun.

 

 

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Homebrewer’s Ball Winners!

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon for a beer festival in our Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport, known as “The Community of the Future.”  Many Homebrewers and beer enthusiasts that did not go to the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, Wisconsin made their way down to our gallery, The Co-Prosperity Sphere, to participate in our first annual Homebrewer’s Ball.

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

This year we had twenty two entries that competed to win the prize of having their liquid entry made by our new brewery, Marz Community Brewing Company. Our Marz project started about the same time as Mash Tun: A Craft Beer Journal some two years ago. After a grueling wait, we are finally up and running and are making some exceptional and delicious brews. You can try them all the time at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar and other fine drinking establishments throughout Illinois, if yer interested. We also poured a few brews at the Ball to let these Homebrewers know we are not fucking around.

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

We were delighted that over 140 people showed up to vote for the final four beers that would be entered in the final round of judging by Master Cicerone, David Kahle, Marz Brewing brewer, Tim Lange, and Beer Superfreak and CHAOS Hombrewers club member, Eric Padilla.

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

While we were waiting for the final vote tally and judging we treated everyone to The Doner Men Food truck. If you are smart you will follow them on Twitter and figure out a way to try their German Stye doner wraps, and curry wurst. My god it’s good. And the food pairs perfectly with beer. Attendees were also able to procure an on the spot silk-screened t-shirt, tote bag and/or bar towell from our best buds at Teetsy!

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

The competition was pretty tight. There were about 10 brews within a few votes of each other. The People’s Choice was the Blood of the Bine Imperial IPA by Frank and Danielle Costanzo. And the final award winners of the Hombrewer’s Ball are as follows:

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

Honorable Mention: Morning Rush, a Coffee & Oatmeal Stout • ABV: 8.5%  by Oscar Montenegro + Dany Reyes
Third Place: Blood of the Bine, a Double IPA by Frank and Danielle Costanzo
Second Place: La Ley, a Wheat Beer with fruit and peppers • ABV:5.3%  by Walter Ornelas and Oscar Sanchez
and First Place went to Lazy Susan, an American-style Strong Pale Ale • ABV: 7.35% by Joe Sumrall  and Eric Franklin.

Mash Tun Fest - First Annual Homebrewer's Competition and Ball - August 9 2014 - Co-Prosperity Sphere - MashTunJournal.org

We are super thrilled to have been able to taste so many great brews from Chicagoland based homebrewers. We know some of these guys will be turning pro real soon. Thanks for joining us and see you at the Ball next year!

For  more awesome photos by David Ettinger please visit this link!

 

 

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New Wave Brewers in Chicagoland

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Over the year we have  interviewed some of our favorite new breweries. Like Penrose in Geneva, and 18th Street in Gary, Indiana. We haven’t had enough room or time to talk about others we love so in Issue 5 of Mash Tun Journal we printed a directory of the new wave of breweries that have launched in Chicagoland over the past few years. This is a list of some of our favorites:

 

Ale Syndicate
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013
RUN BY: Samuel and Jesse Evans
HEAD BREWER: Bryan Shimkos
FLAGSHIP BEER: Sunday Session

“The two biggest things we care about are making good beer and this city,” says Jesse. “Chicago has audacity and grit, and we design all of our recipes to reflect that. We’ve also tried to have our recipes incorporate ingredients that have historically been grown here.”

The next big thing for AS is getting their new Logan Square brewery space up and running. “That’s going to be a big moment for us, and it’s right around the corner,” says Samuel. “ We’ve been brewing at a lot of our friends’ spaces across Illinois, but it’s really exciting to open up this space and get to work on a lot of ideas that we’ve had knocking around for the past few months. And we love this neighborhood – we live here and we just feel really connected to it, so that makes it extra special for us.”

The Syndicate’s already off to a fast start: bottles of its suds can be found everywhere across the city, and they scooped a major honor last year when Rate Beer voted Ale Syndicate as the Best New Brewery in Illinois.

“We’re really proud of that,” says Jesse. “And were’ really proud to be part of that Class of 2013 here in Chicago!”

Atlas Brewery
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012
RUN BY: John and Ben Saller
HEAD BREWER: John and Ben Saller
FLAGSHIP BEER: Golden Ale

Located just steps away from Delilah’s, Chicago’s beloved whiskey dive bar, it was never going to be easy for Atlas Brewery to succeed. Since opening in 2012, however, they have quickly become a neighborhood staple, housing a draft list that balances seasonal specials (Oktoberfest, a pink beer for Valentine’s Day) with some mainstay customer favorites (Golden Ale). Brothers John and Ben Saller, acting as owners and head brewers, have developed a complete establishment, focusing just as much on the kitchen as on the beer, hiring head chef Joe Pierro to create dishes intended for beer pairings. The menu features items just as appropriate for a pub as for a white tablecloth dinner, ranging from a duck confit poutine to an Angus burger. Atlas has also played home to the local home brewing community, hosting informal workshops on Tuesdays where brewers can taste the creations of their fellow fermenters and offers free brewery tours on Wednesdays (or you could simply ask your bartender). For those more interested in consuming beer rather than creating it, Atlas’s deep booths and wood bar is fitting for a night out with friends or a quiet date night.

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BuckleDown Brewery
YYEAR FOUNDED: 2013
RUN BY: Ike Orcutt and Sean Mahoney
HEAD BREWER: Ike Orcutt
FLAGSHIP BEERS: Belt & Suspenders American IPA; Fiddlesticks Belgian IPA

BuckleDown brewery landed in Lyons last year and is the brainchild of Ike Orcutt and Sean Mahoney. BuckleDown gestated in late 2012, after drinking some beers at Haymarket Brewery. Long-time fans of craft beer, Sean and Ike decided to take the plunge. After mentoring with local brewers and working on a few larger-scale systems, the pair put together a plan.

Their first and foremost consideration was a location that had the City of Chicago’s water.  Ike says he “Loves the Chicago brewing scene because there are so many solid beers and breweries here.  We’re just going to focus on making great beer and leave it to someone else to figure out where we fit in.”

Ike added that they decided on the city of Lyons because “there is a big population of craft drinkers without a really local option.” The combination of creating a home team brewery and finding an amazing location with exposed wood-trussed roof, high ceilings and really good street exposure sealed the deal.

With a 15-bbl brewhouse, Buckledown hopes to brew about 1,000 bbls in their first year.  They’re on draft only for now, but by the end of 2014 we can expect to see their suds on shelves.

DryHop Brewers
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013
RUN BY: Greg Shuff
HEAD BREWER: Brant Debovic
FLAGSHIP BEER: Shark Meets Hipster wheat ale

Tucked in the craft beer desert that is Chicago’s East Lakeview, DryHop Brewers have become a staple in a neighborhood known mostly for Versace-bag-swinging blondes and restaurants serving the latest yuppie diet fetish. Their ales are hoppy, their chef obsessed with bacon, and their space a living display of the brewing process, DryHop Brewers seems to only live in the extremes. Their beers (as of this writing) are only available in the brewpub although an ever-changing selection of kettle-to-tap offerings and seasonal food menu (including brunch for those who wake up before noon on the weekends) keep the place packed and the wait-list long.

Brant Debovic, who has a decade of experience, which includes a GABF gold and running a brewpub, mans the brewery constantly churning out challenging and inventive beers. Former Charlie Trotter sous chef and Four Seasons veteran Pete Repak is the chef, a DIY aficionado who scours farmer’s markets to create the comfort food with a twist on your plate. Although run by two bold frontrunners in the food and beer industry, egos are put aside for the sake of collaboration, as the food and beer is intended to be complementary.

DryHop is the challenging, yet balanced, destination the industry needs: a complete establishment, existing as both a restaurant and a brewery where care, precision, and creativity share equal billing behind the kettle and the fryer. After all, why wouldn’t you go to a place that had a series of beers called Hope, Empire, and Jedi?

Horse Thief Hollow
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013
RUN BY: Neil Byer
HEAD BREWER: David Williams
FLAGSHIP BEER:  Annexation Ale IPA, Black Sox Black Ale

Back in the 1850’s the neighborhood of Beverly Chicago was know as Horse Thief Hollow. The story goes that horses stolen from Missouri brought to the market in Chicago were hidden in the dense forest growth of the area. The hilly area had great look out points and was a great den for thieves. This local lore inspired Beverly native Neil Byer to open his brewpub and restaurant.

Fast forward 164 years and most Chicagoan’s wouldn’t be able to locate Beverly, let alone the area where these horses were hidden away. But Neil has put Beverly back on the map, at least for craft beer fans. The updated Horse Thief Hollow is located on Western Ave near 104th Street, about a mile away from where Mash Tun’s publisher grew up, granting the brewpub some important south side pride points.

Byers is a chef and was a home brewer for five years and he added veteran brewer David Williams, president of the Chicago Homebrew Alchemists of Suds (CHAOS) Brew Club to his team. The two are making brews that pair well with Byers menu. Artisan bread, cheese, smoked meats and sausages complement a wide range of offerings on their gastropub menu. The beer is seasonally brewed using the best ingredients available in the mid west.
To experience the goodness of what “Brewed in Beverly” means you’ll have to map Horse Thief Hollow in your phone. We don’t expect their brews to make it to the north side anytime soon.

Middle Brow Brewing Co.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012
RUN BY: Nick Burica, Bryan Grohnke, and Peter Ternef
HEAD BREWER: N/A, see below
FLAGSHIP BEER: Middlebrow produces a single beer at a time

Middle Brow is a unique beer company because of the collaborative nature of their production. Roughly half of their beer recipes are created in-house (they hire a local brewer for actual production); the other half are the winners from themed home-brew contests they organize—the winners get their beer made and 50% of the proceeds are donated to charity. Currently, Middle Brow is producing one beer at a time. “The Life Pursuit” is their most recent beer: it’s a “dark saison style ale with vanilla and cinnamon” created by Matt Holley, who won their first home-brew contest back in 2012.

Aside from producing flavorful and complex brews, Middle Brow also uses great graphics: the “Life Pursuit” label is adorned with a tongue-in-cheek illustration depicting a bearded gentleman, in flannel and beanie, on a ladder pulling a beer bottle down from a bottle-lined shelf. This rich illustration is encircled within the same silhouette, of a man’s head in profile, elegantly used in the beer’s pseudoscientific logo.

It looks like Middle Brow has a recipe for success: by supporting the art of home brewing (the owners are passionate hobbyists with day jobs), giving to charitable causes (they are currently working with Chicago-based anti-violence group Cure Violence), sourcing natural quality ingredients, and making innovative small batches of seasonal beer, Middle Brow has earned a cult following among Chicago beer aficionados.

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Lake Effect
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012
RUN BY: Clint Bautz and Lynn Ford
HEAD BREWER: Clint Bautz
FLAGSHIP BEER: Lake Effect Snow (a 5.4% Wit)

Two of the nicest brewery owners Mash Tun has ever met are Clint Bautz and Lynn Ford. These two former long time home-brewers met at Ravens, talked about their liquid dreams and made the leap a few years ago. After making plans for a brewery for the Northwest side for a few years, they settled in to a back-alley warehouse off I90 in Portage Park and started brewing.

Right off the bat Lake Effect became the neighborhood brewery for the Portage Park area. They brought fresh, well-crafted beer directly to the local community and supplied neighborhood bars, restaurants and liquor stores. They also went bonkers on collaborative brewing with chefs, restaurateurs, bars, other breweries and coffee roasters around the city. This collaborative spirit defines the New Wave of Chicago breweries. Often times Breweries in planning partner up with breweries in operation to help bring their beer and brand recognition to the market. Lake Effect has helped Dryhop, Ale Man, Marz Community Brewing Co and many others design beers and share them with the public. It’s one of the reasons we like them so much.

Lake Effect will be expanding operations soon with a new tap room that will house their barrel aging program and give the public a chance to taste beer fresh from their tanks. Recently a new Yeast manufacturer, Omega Yeast Labs, opened up next door, and Lake Effect has been using Omega strains on a variety of brett beers and other styles. Omega is going to fuel a lot of brews in Chicago and the fact the company exists is a testament to the growth of Chicago land breweries.  We expect more great brews and experimentation to come.

Off Color Brewing
Year Founded: 2013
Run by: John Laffler & Dave Bleitner
Flagship beers: Troublesome and Scurry

Off Color Brewing runs its modest 20 bbl. brewhouse in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. Opened in 2013 by industry vets John Laffler (previously of Goose Island) and Dave Bleitner (previously of Two Brothers), you won’t find Off Color peddling the same old beers you’ve grown used to. In fact, that’s their M.O. –avant-garde brewing. Case in point: Troublesome and Scurry, their two year-round offerings. The former is a highly sessionable Blended Wheat Beer that closely resembles the old-school gose beers of Germany. With its incorporation of coriander and salt, accompanied by slight tartness and acidity, Troublesome is refreshing and won’t wreck your palate. Scurry, on the other hand, is a Dark Honey Ale that clocks in at 5.3% ABV and showcases both honey and molasses with restrained nuance. Both should mainstays in any fridge looking for respite from IPA overload.

While Off Color has made their mark with these two flagships, they should not be overlooked for their one-offs, collaborations and other specialty beers. Whether it’s a gin barrel-aged Radler (Radlersnake), a 3.5% Russian Imperial Stout (Beer Geek Mus), or a Smoke Beer (15ft), Laffler and Bleitner are nothing if not adventurous. They’re clearly trying to make noise in an industry that can at times seem homogenous, and as long as they keep churning out beers that are both interesting and tasty, we’ll keep coming back.

Photo_by_Michael_Kiser

One Trick Pony
Year Founded: 2012
Run By: Mark Kocol
Flagship Beer: Spotted Saddle

Mark Kocol started One Trick Pony in 2012 in Lansing, Ill. after two previous attempts at opening a brewery fell through. His third attempt has flown under the radar – so far – while other Chicagoland startups continue to enter the marketplace with as much visibility as they can achieve. Kocol, for now, has opted to stick to making beer – which he happens to do very well (we recommend the Warlander – a citrusy, 11% Imperial IPA that goes down as effortlessly as a glass of water). Insisting with his business partner Dave Murphy that they not be considered a one trick pony, Kocol brews everything from APAs to Belgian Dubbels to Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stouts and wants to continue to explore his capabilities, including cask-conditioned ales.  We welcome that curiosity with thirsty palates.

While you may find one of their beers on tap at a bar, if you really want to know what One Trick Pony is all about, visit the brewery and take a seat in the taproom. It’s a no frills joint with mismatched bar furniture, random art and used growlers lining the walls. But it’s not the physical makeup that makes it a great place to drink a beer. It’s the people. On any given day at the taproom you can be sure a local will strike up a friendly conversation, talk up the beer and offer stories from their own life. It never fails. The folks at One Trick Pony have somehow combined the vibe of a neighborhood dive with a world-class brewery. There may be no better place to grab a pint or two. (See our accompanying feature on page XX)

One Trick Pony currently distributes kegs throughout the Chicagoland area, but be on the lookout for bottled offerings to hit liquor stores in late 2014.

SlapShot
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013
RUN BY: Brian and Steven Miller
HEAD BREWER: Steven Miller
FLAGSHIP BREWS: Maybe the 1926, a rye pale ale.

GUESS WHAT?
Hockey and beer? Never heard of such a thing!
Ok, it’s no shock that a brewery called SlapShot is full of hockey players and big hockey fans. “Oh yeah, we’re Hawks season ticket holders,” says head brewer Steven with a laugh. “All of us are fans, and Brian and I still play. Our backers are big fans too. And that’s why we named our rye pale ale ‘1926:’ after the year the Blackhawks were founded.”

SlapShot, which began as a hobby and slowly grew into a full-time brewery, has always kept the social drinker’s needs firmly in their sights. “We brew sessionable beers,” says Steven. “We want something you can drink all day, that’s got some full flavor – but doesn’t knock you over when you get off the bar stool.”

The Miller brothers actually never thought they’d get to open a brewery, but after six or seven years of making brews for fun, the time was right to take the plunge. “The equipment evolved, we evolved and we always talked about opening a brewery one day,” says Steven. “And we got to place in our lives where we could. So we did it.”

SlapShot is in the midst of a growth phase right now, all spurred by careful planning and the great reception they’ve received in Chicagoland. “We started contract brewing at Urban Legend, and that was great, but we had limited capacity and could only get one beer out,” says Steven. “And our main account, the Beer Bistro, just blew through it. That was really gratifying and now that we’re able to brew on our own, we’re able to stretch a little bit.”

Next up for SlapShot is to can beers, something that will come on line in the next 60 days, and will retail in 16 oz four-packs. “We think we can release a lot more beers to the public that way with a lot more variation,” says Steven. Also on the radar is the SMASH Project, which sounds like a cross-check but is actually an acronym.
“We’re going to do an entire line using single malt and single hops, and a different set in each run,” says Steven. “We’re excited about that – it’s going to be cool!”

Une Année  
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012
RUN BY: Jerry Nelson
HEAD BREWER: Jerry Nelson and Dustin Zimmerman
FLAGSHIP BEER: Maya, a Belgian IPA

Une Année’s Jerry Nelson picked up homebrewing in the mid-90s, catching the first wave of West Coast brewing when he was stationed with the Marines in California, With only a brief intermission while Nelson completed school, he has been brewing non-stop ever since, and finally decided to taker the plunge. It took three years to plan, raise the money needed, and do a year of brewing school at Siebel before he was ready to pull the trigger, but now, Une Année’s nine-barrel production brewery, located in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, is online and producing fine craft brews in the Belgian and French tradition.

Nelson’s focus is to make Une Année the home for Belgian-inspired beer in the Midwest and he hopes his brewery will one day have the same recognition and cachet as Ommegang Brewery. Une Année will only brew Belgian and French style beers over the next few years, part of a modest plan that includes growing above and beyond 10,000 barrels a year, building out a tasting room, and ultimately moving into a larger space to showcase their great products.

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The Chicago Buyer’s Club: In Conversation with: Ria Nieri

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Once every few months or so, If I’m lucky, I see a gathering of what I call The Beer Buyer’s Club at my bar in the south side of Chicago.  These ladies are some of the few women of influence in the Chicago Beer industry, and it’s great to see them all in one place. It’s usually a Friday afternoon and I walk up to these cholos and say the same thing. “What the hell are you guys doing here? Slumming?

These ladies are all members of the Illuminati of the Chicago beer industry: They are Sellers and Buyers of Beer. They are tastemakers and industry insiders and often determine the allocation lists of the world’s most coveted beers. They decide what you get to drink at yer local watering hole by offering their beers for sale to retailers and if you play nice you get the good shit.
Few of you will ever get to know these women, but all of  us in Chicago are affected by their decisions. One of the cats in this secret club is Ria Neri. She knows how to play nice, and she is an inspiration to us at Mash Tun Journal. I’ve known Ria for a while now and she inhabits the same neighborhood as me, Bridgeport, the Community of the Future. We don’t see each other enough, but that’s because she is super busy being the Beer Buyer for some of Chicago’s most celebrated restaurants and bars: Bangers & Lace, Trenchermen, Lone Wolf and Nightwood. I bugged Ria at one of those ad hoc meetings and asked her to just answer a few questions to inspire people working in the industry. She agreed.
Ed: What was your first hospitality job? And how did that go?

Ria: Nightwood Restaurant in Pilsen.  I was a barback.  It was my kind of gig.  Working behind the scenes allowed me a glimpse of the madness (the fun kind) that is the hospitality industry.

EM: I remember you telling me that you and Kevin Heisner used to brew shit tons of beer. When did you first start getting into beer? When was that first brew day, what did you make?

RN: S*#T tons! (I don’t swear).  I had expressed a desire for a new hobby, so my good friend Kevin got me a Beer brewing kit- not just one, but six kits.  On the first brew day, Kevin decided he wanted to make all six beers in one day.  I agreed.  We went for it.  We were clueless.  And the hot water went out.  It was a mess.  We ended up with two brews —  a Wit and a Stout — and a whole new respect for beer brewing.

EM: How do you decide on a concept for a beverage program? Do you have a methodology for choosing beers and beverages for the places you manage?

RN: The concept is always determined along with the restaurant/bar as a whole.  I find that it is almost always an organic process.  In the end, I always strive for balance.

EM: I often hear about how horrible bar owners and buyers are to distributors and reps of beer companies, and it is startling. But sometimes distributors won’t allocate or give access to rare beers. How do you deal with a distributor that does not give you product you want to present to your patrons? Especially when another bar down the block gets it.

RN: A mutual respect & understanding is required here.  It’s not personal.  It’s beer, and there’s s*#t tons of it!  S*#t tons!

EM: What are some of the most important things you have learned working in the industry?

RN: Cutthroat competition has no value.  The desire to be the Ace of Spades will get you lost in the shuffle.  Essentially, a deck is worthless when it’s missing a few cards.  I think collaboration and a sense of community are prerequisites to a thriving industry.  Also, I think the industry platform is a fantastic vehicle for sharing knowledge.  Be a source of inspiration, get inspired, and don’t forget to have fun.

EM: I think that Chicagoland might be headed for large-format craft beer bottle fatigue. It’s hard to find shelf space for all the small guys. What are your thoughts about the explosion of breweries and brands coming to the Chicago market? How do you choose to support new kids on the block?

RN: Viewing the explosion of the craft beer movement with a positive outlook is an attitude that needs to be practiced on a daily basis.  As a beer buyer, do I feel overwhelmed at times? Absolutely.  Do the products I am presented with always taste up to par- (subjectively)?  Most of the time, but not always.  Do I think these eager new players have longevity?  I hope so.
The forecast of a looming collapse in the craft beer movement is an image I prefer not to fixate on.  I readily adopt this craft beer explosion with a sense of optimism, perhaps one might say with a bit of naiveté, but I do see an outcome that allows for more creativity, a push towards more innovation, in order to stay afloat.

More importantly, it strengthens a craft brewer’s ingenuity and resourcefulness —  almost requiring an “outside the box thinking” —  and being artists that they are, I can only look forward with great anticipation to the craft that can only be accomplished by the best of them. Besides that, I think the movement allows for more exposure to a mass audience, who probably never considered that “craft beer” a common household term. In the near future, we could see barrel-aged sours pop up at family dinners.

EM: What advice do you have for people interested in getting into the hospitality industry and how would you suggest they are able to attain a position of beverage director?

RN: I think getting into any industry requires a vast curiosity.  Read often, taste often, listen, learn from your peers an don’t be an asshole. There is always much more to know.  It never stops. As Eleanor Roosevelt said:  “Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart….We can only grow as long as we are interested.”

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Mash Tun 2014 Homebrewer’s Ball

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Mash Tun Society and Mash Tun Journal present:

The 2014 Homebrewer’s Ball

Join us at Mash Tun Society’s First Annual Homebrewer’s Competition!

For $30 ( $25 for Mash Tun Society members)  you get:
– Tastes of all the Homebrew entries
– A Mash Tun Tasting Glass
– A Homebrewer’s Ball T-shirt Live  Silk-screened by Teetsy! (supplies limited)
– Vittles by The Doner Men and The Salsa Truck
–  A vote for best brews in the competition. The winner gets their beer brewed at Marz Community Brewing Company
– A copy of the new Mash Tun Guide to Craft Beer in Illinois
– Tastes of Marz Community Brewing Co. beers

Featuring beers by:
Armando Cobian and Christina Cobian, Chuck Patella, Cassie Webster and Brody Webster, Kyle Shaver and Kevin Shaver, Steven Schaab with help from Mark Paris, David Erwin Merz III and Cameron Mark Cieglo, Robby Zahm and Jacques Laramie, Walter Ornelas, Joel Timm and Taylor Southworth, Chris Chesser, Sean Fitzpatrick, Oscan Montenegro and Dany Reyes, and Josh Smith

TICKET INFO
Non Members must visit this link for tickets.

Mash Tun Society Members use this link for the discounted price. The membership password has been emailed to you.

Judging of the event is open to members of the Mash Tun Society only. Proceeds of the event go to the Public Media Institute, the non profit that publishes Mash Tun Journal and organizes The Mash Tun Society.

The Mash Tun Society is a craft beer and artisan food club that presents programming throughout the year in the city of Chicago. The Society was established for people who enjoy the pleasures and aesthetics of craft beer and how it intersects with food, culture, & society. The Non profit organization publishes The Mash Tun Journal and produces many events and programs like the Mash Tun Festivals, The Homebrewers Ball, the annual Art of Beer exhibition and other exclusive drinking and eating events and gatherings.

To become a member of the Mash Tun Society please visit:
http://www.mashtunjournal.org/the-mash-tun-society/

New members will receive complementary entry to the 2014 Homebrewer’s Ball.

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The Lager Beer Riot Reenactment! April 25, 2015

To mark the 160th anniversary of the Lager Beer Riot, Chicago’s first act of civil disturbance, and to celebrate the city’s growing beer culture, Pocket Guide to Hell and Marz Community Brewing Company are hosting an audience interactive dodgeball reenactment and beer tasting on Saturday, April 25, 2015 starting at 6 pm. The event is part of Version Festival 15 and is a fundraiser for Benton House, the historic nonprofit charitable center in Bridgeport. BUY TICKETS HERE! The Lager Beer Riot occurred at the Clark Street Bridge in April 1855. The reenactment is going to be staged in the Benton House gymnasium as a game of dodgeball following National Amateur Dodgeball Association rules. One team, consisting of representatives of Law & Order under the command of Mayor Levi Boone, is to be made up of 10 representatives of Chicago area breweries. The revolting Irish and German bar owners are to be portrayed by 10 representatives of the Bridgeport community. The Strange Brews podcasters (Alison Cuddy and Andrew Gill) are going to provide play-by-play coverage with color commentary from Randy Mosher (The Map Room, Five Rabbit) and Tim Samuelson (City of Chicago Cultural Historian). Historical referees, halftime music by Brass Inferno Productions, and a working model of the Clark Street bridge round out the experience. The Lager Beer Riot reenactment is going to consist, per NADA rules, of 10 three-minute matches, with an 11th if a tiebreaker is needed. There will be a halftime show after 5 matches are played. A beer tasting of specially brewed beers run from 6-9 pm at Benton House in the remains of the former Ramova Grill. Participating Breweries: Marz Community Brewing Company Revolution Brewing Goose Island Brewing Haymarket Pub & Brewery Middle Brow Beer Co. Urban Legend Brewing Company Spiteful Brewing Company Ten Ninety Brewing Company Cademon Brewing Company Ale Syndicate Tickets: $30 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, 10 beer tickets, and a special issue of Mash Tun. $40 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, 10 beer tickets, the special issue of Mash Tun, and a limited edition event poster by Kathleen Judge. (Limit 20) $50 gets you admission to the Lager Beer Riot, 10 beer tickets, the special issue of Mash Tun, limited edition event poster, and the chance to play in one of the 10 dodgeball matches (Limit 10) Proceeds benefit the programs offered by Benton House  

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Drinking up The Chicago Flag

We are loving the Drinking Up The Chicago Flag series that is in progress on the ChooseChicago website. Our new pal, Elizabeth Garibay, is writing about Chicago beer history using the five stars of the flag as starting points for her tales. Here are the links to the  Star 1, Star 2 and Star 3  stories   #4 and #5 will be published in forthcoming weeks.  Enjoy the reads!

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Feb 14: The Power of Sour

  Marz Community Brewing Co presents: The Power of Sour Feb 14, 2015 4-8pm Western Exhibitions • 845 W Washington Blvd. 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60607 Marz Community Brewing is excited to bring you an anti-Valentines Day event on Sunday, February 14th at Western Exhibitions. We have been dying to do an Art of Marz Brewing event with Paul Nudd, one of our favorite painters, trouble makers and friends along with his gallery, Western Exhibitions. Paul made the painting of the “Bubbly Creek” monster which adorns our Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss bottles. For this event we are releasing a limited edition four color silk screened print made especially for this Power of Sour event. And Paul’s work will also be on view. To enjoy Paul’s art Marz will be sampling out our expanding line of South Side Sours. Our sour ales are made with a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum discovered by Marz Brewer, Al Robertson, and isolated by Omega Yeast labs. It’s our secret weapon in converting beer drinkers to a style of sour ales that are tart, mildly acidic, delicious and made here in Chicago. During the Power of Sour event we will provide complementary pours of our Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss, The Duchess de Bridgeport sour brown ale and our brand spanking new Gose style beer called Ruby’s Tears. Sampling glasses will be provided by our sister project, Mash Tun Journal. A suggested donation of $15 will get you one of the prints made by Paul. If you want to guarantee you will receive one of the edition of 100 or so prints you must purchase Admission online at EventBrite. The link is below : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-power-of-sour-tickets-15611467319 See ya there.

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Mash Tun Five Pack

Mash Tun Journal is a perfect gift for your beer geek buddy. Get all 5 issues of the Journal for $35! We sell em at UnderTheCounterCulture

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2014 FoBAB Winners

The 2014 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB) is bigger than ever this year – expanding to three sessions over two days (Nov. 14 and 15) with over 90 breweries serving up at least 300 beers that have been in contact with wood. The beers are judged by a panel of industry experts, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to beers in 11 categories.  This year was a tipping point for the festival. It will soon become one of the world’s most important and must attend craft beer festivals. Go Chicago! Go BRoBAB! 2014 National Wood-Aged Beer Competition Results at FoBAB Best of Show Port Brewing Veritas 013 Runner up: Perennial Barrel Aged Abraxas Classic Porter / Stout Gold: Saugatuck Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout Silver: 5 Rabbit Barrel Aged Yodo Con Leche Bronze: Perrin Lil Griz Strong Porter / Stout Gold: Pipeworks Barrel Aged Jones Dog Silver: Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti Bronze: 4 Hands Barrel Aged Bonafide with Cinnamin Barleywine / Wheatwine Gold: Revolution Straightjacket Silver: 4 Hands Volume 2 Bronze: Firestone Walker Abacus 2013 Classic Styles Gold: Ei8ght Ball Reintarnation Silver: Glacier Beam Marzen Bronze: Sun King Soul Shakedown Party Strong / Double / Imperial Pale Beer Gold: Revolution Filibuster Silver: Southern Prohibition Barrel Aged Mississippi Fire Ant Bronze: Rock Bottom Chicago Gin Blitz Strong / Double / Imperial Dark Beer Gold: Milwaukee Brewing Louie’s Resurrection Silver: Sun King Sympathy for the Devil Bronze: Glacier Buffalo Trace Eisbock Fruit Beer Gold: Off Color Yuzu Er’d Og Begravet Silver: Lake Effect Cerise De Michigan Bronze: Goose Island Clybourn Vainglorious Experimental Beer Gold: Perennial Barrel Aged Abraxas Silver: Breakside Aquavit Barrel Aged IPA Bronze: Temperance Boulevardier Barrel Aged Might Meets Right Wild Beer / Brett Gold: Off Color Papillon Silver: Trinity Easy Swinger Wild IPA Bronze: Oakshire Hermanne 1882 Wild Beer / Acidic Gold: Port Brewing Veritas Silver: Trinity 365 Day Sour Bronze: AC Golden Dark Creek Cider / Perry / Mead Gold: Virtue Lapinette Silver: Vermont Wyder’s Reposado Pear Bronze: Vandermill Chapman’s Oats

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Meet Your Equipment: The Mash Tun

Meet The Mash Tun – from Issue #5 By Dave Kahle   If you’ve ever been on a brewery tour, the guide rarely gives you much detail about the brewing equipment – and rightfully so, as most people just want to get to the tasting room at the end. Most of us look at all of this brewing equipment in wonder. It has a magical feeling about it. How do all of these intimidating, giant pieces of metal, with a labyrinth of pipes and hoses connected to them, produce this simple pleasure in a glass? While I don’t want to downplay the well thought out engineering of a modern brewhouse, there’s no reason to look at a brewery as if it’s a NASA testing facility. That being said, this article is the first in a series meant to introduce pieces of brewing equipment, remove some of the mystique, provide detail as to why it’s constructed the way it is and what it’s real purpose is. This won’t make the brewing process any less magical, it will hopefully reveal some of the thought process a brewer must consider in crafting a beer, and why they could be looked at more as artistic laborers than magicians.   The mash tun is the first vessel used in a commercial brewery. The goal of mashing is to solubilize malt constituents, primarily extracting fermentable sugars, and dextrins (non-fermentable sugars) from malt. This is done by steeping the malt/grains in hot water. The mash tun is typically a stainless steel vessel, although copper is occasionally used. Copper is a good heat conductor and is malleable, but stainless is much easier to clean and maintain. Following the malt mill, crushed grain is sent to the mash tun. This is generally done with an auger inside of a tube that pushes grain up to a premasher fixed above the mash tun. In this premash mixer the grains are blended with hot water before falling into the mash tun below. The flow rate of both water and grain can be controlled by standard water shut off valves or a knife gate for the incoming grain. Some small breweries use pre-milled grain and pour it by hand from bags into the tun while hot water is introduced directly. When malt and hot water are combined in the tun, it is called, mash. The amount of malt used is approximately 1.5 – 2.5 lbs per gallon. This equates to using ~1000 lbs of malt for a 15 barrel batch of beer. A barrel is 31 gallons and 15 barrels is a standard size for many small American craft breweries to brew at a time.   The combination mash/lauter tun is cylindrical and outfitted with perforated plates set a few inches above the bottom. The plates act like a colander allowing the malt grain bed to float above the sugar water extract (now called wort). There is a set of rakes inside the tun that are turned by a motor mounted above the mash tun. These rakes, mixing both horizontally and vertically, move slowly through the mash breaking up any clumping of the grain, insuring an even temperature is maintained throughout and no hot spots or scorching occurs. Enzymes, which we’ll touch on in a bit, are also distributed more evenly with the rakes.   The speed of the rakes is often controlled by a computer or control panel. If the rakes spin too fast they will spin all of the mash instead of simply mixing it evenly. Spinning the mash can cause oxygen to be introduced by creating a vortex. Oxygen is generally avoided as much as possible in the mash tun, since oxidative staling compounds can form that carry through to the finished beer, giving the beer stale off flavors. Small or traditional breweries will mix the mash by hand with a mash paddle, if they don’t have a rake system.   Most mash tuns are heated by steam through tubes in a jacket that surrounds the vessel. Small breweries can mash with no integrated heat source, as long as the walls of the mash tun are well insulated. This usually means a few inches of insulation jacketing the tun. On rare occasion a brewery will have a direct-fired mash tun. The direct heat can cause an uneven temperature throughout the mash and scorching can occur. Managing the temperature of the mash is the most important variable for a brewer at this stage of the brewing process. In brewing, there are numerous enzymes at work. An enzyme is a chain of amino acids that acts as a catalyst for biochemical reactions. The tricky part of dealing with enzymes is they are temperature sensitive and whether they work quickly or become inactive can be a matter of just a few degrees.   The key enzymes in the mash are proteases, which break down proteins, and amylases, which break down carbohydrates into smaller sugars. Brewers control the ratio of fermentable to non-fermentable sugars by setting the temperature of the mash. If the mash temp is in the 140-150F range, Beta Amylase is active, the activity rate increasing with the temperature. Beta Amylase breaks carbs into maltose, which is the most abundant sugar in wort, and is highly fermentable. If a brewer mashed at a temp favorable to Beta Amylase, the finished beer would have less body, a drier mouth-feel, and more alcohol. Alpha Amylase is active in the 148-159F range. Alpha Amylase breaks carbs into slightly longer chain sugars (dextrins) that are generally unfermentable by brewers yeast. However, these dextrins are now easier to break down further by Beta Amylase. If the brewer chooses a temperature that favors Alpha Amylase, the finished beer would have more body, more sweetness, and lower alcohol levels for the amount of grain used.   In a large brewery, the mash tun is not the point at which grains are separated from the wort. The mash is pumped to a second vessel called the Lauter Tun, in…

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