It was in the very office from which this blog originates that the idea for our next FootMen Series beer was hatched. Matt Dick, our brewer and resident caskmaster, was laying out his plans for his FootMen beer with our head brewer and the blog guy. The conversation went something like this:
Matt: I’m thinking of doing an altbier.
Head Brewer: an altbier huh?
Blog Guy: what’s an altbier?
Matt: it’s a smooth-drinking German amber ale.
Blog Guy: wait aren’t you the guy who’s always coming up with cool stuff to put in our casks like peppercorns and white chocolate and local honey?
Matt: yeah, so?
Blog Guy: so perhaps you “alt” to do that with this beer bahahahaha
Head Brewer: shut up Blog Guy
Bad puns notwithstanding, Matt accepted the challenge, and set about creating something distinctive. Perhaps it was his love of southern barbecue; perhaps it was the week he spent a few years ago in Bamburg Germany, birthplace of rauchbier. But the result is one of the most unique beers produced thus far in this series . . . an Imperial Smoked Cherry Porter.
To get started we turned to longtime F.O.F. (Friend of Foothills) Jason Duggins, owner of Goodtimes Bar-B-Cue over in Pilot Mountain. Jason smokes his barbecue exclusively on wild cherrywood, which produces what he calls a “mellow, sweet smoke” much smoother than hickory or mesquite.
Jason turned his cookers down to cold smoke temperatures (like I really knew what that was before talking to Jason) and set sheetpans of our British 2-row barley inside for a half-hour at a time, stirring them every 10 minutes or so.
We then sent out to Oregon for 168 pounds of cherries – 126 pounds of sour, 42 pounds of sweet.
The resulting brew has a well balanced, intensely enjoyable flavor profile that perfectly blends its sweet, tart and smoky elements into one incredible beer.
We’ll tap this 8.4% ABV beauty on Friday afternoon December 19th at 5pm, at our pub only (for now) on West 4th Street. Come have a pint with us!