The Brewer: Jamie Fulton with Community Beer Co.
The Beer: Silly Gose (summer seasonal)
Traditional German-Style Sour Wheat Ale
Jamie Fulton is a busy man. There always seems to be a bit of madness in any brewery when canning, brewing, or really anything involved in this mass production of the divine elixir that is beer. On both visits to Community, Fulton was called away to assist with issues of some urgency, but even when interrupted, he maintained a calmness and control, which is certainly present in the beer the brewery delivers. Although he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, once Fulton decides you’re cool, it’s all smiles and generosity. He’s an engineering, organizing, managing, scientific spirit, and everyone he interacts with enjoys and respects him. For this particular telling, Fulton shared the brewery’s upcoming release, The Silly Gose. Here’s how it happens.
“This is a four-vessel system. The mash vessel is a mash mixer. That’s the first one. We transfer that to the water ton, which is designed to separate all the sweet liquid out from the mash. The third vessel, the boil kettle, we collect all the sweet liquid (called the wort), and the normal procedure is that we’re boiling it, we’re adding hops, and then we’re transferring it to the whirlpool immediately after that. We’re getting all the hops and true protein out of it, cooling it down, and injecting yeast. That’s standard procedure. So for Gose, we collect all that sweet liquid out of the grain. We boil it to destroy all the natural organisms that are on grain. It’s not sterile. So we boil it to destroy those because we do want to inoculate it with Lactobacillus, which could potentially be on the grain naturally, because we have two specific strains that we’re using. So we boil it for about 20 minutes to destroy those, and then we cool the batch down to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and we pitch in our culture of Lactobacillus. So probably by about 10 or 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, it will be to the PH that we need it at. So what they’re doing (the Lactobacillus) is, as they’re growing in there, they’re creating lactic acid and souring it. So it goes from a PH of around 5.2 or 5.3 to about 3.5. And at that point, we boil the batches and destroy all the Lactobacillus once it gets to the right PH. That ceases all the lactic acid production, and then we just treat it like a normal beer. We boil it. We add a little bit of hops, tangerine peel, cool it, pitch it, let our yeast ferment, and that’s where we’re adding apricot puree after all that.”
And so you have Silly Gose. The beer itself has a malt character that is exceptionally clean and pulls the initial tartness into a wonderful balance that’s just damn enjoyable. Bright, acidic, but tempered by the malt sweetness and then driven even further by the addition of apricot, tangerine, coriander, and salt, Silly Gose is an exquisite example of what summer beer should be. Community’s first exercise in sour is a triumph, though with their track record, that should be no surprise. Silly Gose will be available at the brewery today, which opens at 5 p.m. Cans will be released sometime next week. Get your thirsty little fingers to work and drink this beer.