Wedding Brewing

EmilyMike-166

All photos courtesy of Morgan O’Neil Photography

 

So one of the main things I was intent upon doing for our wedding was brewing the beers for it. I worked for two years on the creation of Bentley Brewing Company, a project now run expertly by my best friend and in this instance, my best man. I know my way around a kettle. I’ve poured beers at many festivals, smacked lips as I sampled funky liquid from precious barrels, and stayed up at night thinking about the price of hops. Beer brewing is something I’ve been doing in one form or another for almost ten years.

And God help you if you are like me and want to brew and serve your own damn beer. Between liability costs, flat out refusals, and a scheme by which our brewery would sell the beer to the venue wholesale and then buy it back at a 400% markup, it was difficult to say the least. Eventually, after many, many emails and site tours, and my fiancé asking “do you really need to brew it yourself?” we found both a venue and a caterer that would allow it. Hard part over. Now I just had to make the beer.

The wedding was in mid June, outside in a tent, so the possibility of a warm day was very real. Immediately that put things like stout, porter, or even brown ales out of my mind. Not my favorite styles anyway, particularly at a party (wedding, my fiancé kept saying. It’s not a party, it’s a wedding). So I decided to go from a blonde ale and ramp up through a pale ale and finish with an IPA.

EmilyMike-334

All photos courtesy of Morgan O’Neil Photography

 

(all recipes for 10 finished gallons, 70% efficiency)

First up was the Beerly Beloved blonde (Yes, I know. It gets worse). Of course I needed to do something more interesting than just a plain blonde ale, so I hopped on Yakima Valley Hops and looked around for something interesting. Australian Summer was a variety I’d never worked with before, and the descriptor of balanced citrus and stone fruit caught my eye. It said that it showcases distinct apricot and melon characteristics in dry hopping applications as well, so I figured all that would go well with a nice crisp malt bill.

  • 20 lbs 2-row

  • 1 lb Caramalt

  • 1.5 oz Nugget (12.6% AA) @ 60 minutes

  • 4 oz Australian Summer (5.6% AA) @ flameout

  • 4 oz Australian Summer (5.6% AA) @ 170 degrees for 15 minutes

  • 8 oz Australian Summer (5.6% AA) @ dryhop for 7 days

154 degree single step infusion for 1 hour, fermented with US-05 @ 67 degrees. OG 1.049, FG 1.006, ABV 5.63%, IBU 31.

Matrimoni-ale, a classic pale ale was next. I went back to my first craft beer for this one, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Such a classic recipe, so balanced and simple. Nothing but some 2 row, a little caramalt, and a whole buncha Cascade hops. No problem.

  • 22 lbs 2-row

  • 2 lbs Caramalt

  • 2 oz Nugget (12.6% AA) @ 60 minutes

  • 6 oz Cascade (4.5% AA) @ flameout

  • 8 oz Cascade (4.5% AA) @ 170 degrees for 15 minutes

150 degree single step infusion for 1 hour, fermented with US-05 @ 67 degrees. OG 1.052, FG 1.006, ABV 6%, IBU 41.

Hoppily Ever After IPA was a little trickier. I wanted something more in line with the New England style IPAs that had been coming out, something tropical and fruity but not overly bitter. I wanted people to get a big slap of hop flavor, but not be blown out by acrid or overly piney, resinous flavors. So I found some Belma hops, which I had in a beer from Outer Light Brewing at a beer fest a few years ago. Very big strawberry notes with a herbal, kind of minty finish.

  • 27 lbs 2-row

  • 2 lbs Caramalt

  • 3 oz Belma (12.5% AA) @ 60 minutes

  • 3 oz Belma (12.5% AA) @ flameout

  • 4 oz Belma (12.5% AA) @ 170 degrees for 15 minutes

  • 6 oz Belma (12.5% AA) @ dryhop for 7 days

152 degree single step infusion for 1 hour, fermented with US-05 @ 67 degrees. OG 1.062, FG 1.006, ABV 7.34%, IBU 56.

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