When you think about it, beer is kind of magical. It’s not like whiskey, or vodka, which requires a distillery, or wine making, which…well, don’t get me started. You can make beer in your house and have drinkable beer in two weeks.

Two. Freakin’. Weeks.

MBC_Brewtus4PackAnd here’s the interesting thing; if you live in the right place, you boil your wort…mash out, and you can just let it sit. Let the wild yeast do its job. Yes, you can pitch yeast, but in many places, wild yeasts will impart a spontaneous fermentation. This happens a lot in Belgium…well, and in the handful of American breweries that have coolships (open fermentation vessels).

It often makes me think about that first person that left their watery oatmeal sitting out after deciding they prepared it a little too thin, and then waited weeks before sipping from it again. For all the cleanliness that actually goes into the process of brewing, I have to believe that the first person to drink beer, or, at least what was then beer, albeit still an undiscovered drink, had to be something of a slob…either that, or they tried it on a dare. Either way, thank you to that individual.

And thank you to wild fermentation – the action responsible for first bringing beer into the world.

Maybe wild ales aren’t your thing, but there’s something magical about them, about the process of mashing out, and then just letting nature take its course with your concoction. No pitching yeast, just letting that soup sit there and letting the yeast that’s floating about in the air just do its thing.

Sure, you can get some funky, unexpected flavors, but you get beer…in a way, kind of out of thin air.

Personally, I like wild ales, for several reasons – the tart, different flavors, and the aforementioned magical quality.

Beware the Ales of March

Check out Monocacy Brewing Company tomorrow. The brewery, according to a press release “is releasing a Coffee Imperial Stout, called Brewtus, in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC markets on the Ides of March, Saturday, March 15. This robust interpretation of English brewing tradition is the second variety released by Monocacy Brewing Company offered year-round in both bottle and keg formats. Like its predecessor, Riot Rye Pale Ale, Brewtus is brewed using quality local ingredients. The coffee aroma and taste of this 8.6% abv Coffee Imperial Stout is conjured from select, dark-roasted malts and freshly roasted, whole “Red Bourbon Rwanda” estate coffee beans from Dublin Roasters of Frederick.”

Tapped and Uncapped

Sorry, but this weekend I have to go with a beer that’s hard to get here…but if you find yourself traveling to Texas, it’s certainly a 1509137_10202814233613028_620573310_nmust. I know I try to keep it with beers you can find without traveling much farther than, say, Ashburn or Gettysburg, but this beer is special for you hop heads out there.

I give you Heavy Machinery DIPA from Austin Beerworks. This is a freakin’ hop explosion. When you crack the can open you can smell the citra from a foot and a half away before you pour the beer – resiny and full of citrus flavors, it drinks smoothly, like a beer with a whole lot smaller an ABV than its 10 percent, so if you get your hands on a four pack, proceed with caution.

Oh, and one last note about this beer – its brewer is Will Golden, formerly of Barley and Hops. Definitely check out what they’re doing if you find yourself in the neighborhood; he’s doing good things there.

Until next week, be well and drink good beer.