I have some exciting news! But I can’t just tell you. I hate to just blurt things out and drop them like a stone… this is something I am notorious for- a trait I inherited from my Mother- it is a tendency to always back the story up to the very beginning…. and then, usually mid-story -to back up even farther- just to give some colorful background information. This annoys my Father, Brother, Sister-in-law and Wife to no end. “What was the point of this story?!?” they say. Usually it takes my Mother and I a moment of thought to recall what indeed originally got us down the path to whatever engaging thing we’re currently talking about. Without this sort of constant course-correction from others we often don’t ever make it to “the point”- though we do hit on MANY interesting points.
Whatever. I for one think that we make pretty great storytellers- and even better conversationalists. We don’t get to “The Point” but the point was to talk about something interesting with somebody special, yes? This approach we take to storytelling/relaying information is often much to the annoyance of the special people in our lives.
Anyway- what was I talking about?
Oh yes- Let me tell you a story:
My Wife’s Father- His name is Stan. He is very much a “Stan”. His name suits him- but he was born a “Stanko”. He tells me a story- he’s told me this story more than twice- much to the annoyance of HIS wife- about his first memorable beer experience. It might even be his first-ever beer experience. I don’t recall that detail. You’d think I would.
It’s his story, and so I won’t do it justice, but here is the gist: He was a young boy. He was fleeing Croatia with members of his family. They were onroute to Canada via Germany and while in Germany somebody gave him something new and incredible: German beer. It was dark. It was… delicious. It was like nothing he had ever tasted before- and he “…would never forget it”.
This is the potential power when you give a gift of beer! A good beer with great timing can leave something indelible.
Around the time I began working at The 3 Brewers Stan decided that he wanted to know more about his favorite style of Beer and so he googled it, along with his favorite locally-available example of the style: Köstritzer Schwarzbier. He found lots of information as well as several “clone recipes”. He called his daughter right away- “Hi Dad! Oh- what? … ” She dropped her cell phone away from her head. “My Dad wants to speak with you.” she said to me, surprised. “Really?!” I replied, equally surprised. Stan and I get along quite well, but he is not the sort of person who calls you up to chat. And he didn’t- he called me up to get me to brew him a Schwarzbier.
So- I made a clone: Kö-Stanzer Schwarzbier. I didn’t have any fermentation temperature control at the time, but I did manage to get a decent lager together by fermenting ontop of my apartments air conditioning unit. When it was ready I bottled it and brought most of the bottles to Stan. We did a little blind tasting, Sonja’s Family and I. A triangle test- 2 samples of Kö-Stanzer and one Köstritzer. The consensus? Everyone could easily pick out the homebrew, but not because it was a bad beer, it just was NOT Köstritzer.
I tried again. And again. But I never successfully cloned Köstritzer. Still- my third attempt at cloning for Stan managed to win a silver for lagers in a homebrew competition. After awhile I came to actually prefer my attempts to the original brew that I was aiming to recreate. I always liked Köstritzer- from the moment Stan introduced it to me (with a good story!) and I still like Köstritzer, but you could always just buy one, you know? I began to shift my focus towards brewing the best beer that I could- MY ideal Schwarzbier. This beer I named for myself, Schwarzbier Nördländer, and it managed a gold! This beer is also the basis for one that I’ve recently brewed at The 3 Brewers! I adapted it for the 3B system and I’ve convinced them to allow me to brew a Schwarzbier for this years Toronto Beer week: Eat My Schwarz!! The details on this beer and the description I wrote for it are above.
You should come! Here is the event info, but the Beer will continue to be on tap until the end of Toronto Beer Week- or until it runs out.
So that’s the end of my story. I managed to get to “The Point”. But before I’m done, let me share with you an interesting aside; you might be pleased to know that Stan has gotten into all-grain brewing in a big way- and no longer needs me to brew Schwarzbier for him!! I think he must be on his 4th or 5th batch of Schwarz by now, and he always seems to have some on tap whenever we are visiting. He is refining it down and working towards brewing HIS ideal Schwarzbier! Cheers to that!!!