Project Serpent is a very modern collaboration between brewers and cider makers to produce new and exciting flavours and tastes.
Below is a piece from Thornbridge brewer, Rob Lovatt, it forms part of the Thornbridge Brewery Blog .
This year (2104) has seen an expansion of our barrel ageing projects. Our first batch of Sour Brown was 18 nervous months in the making up at the hall brewery. We were delighted with how it came out, but we only made a small amount and due to interest sold very quickly, so we decided to brew a large batch at the Riverside brewery. There are currently 40 barrels of Sour Brown maturing away with our house blend of lactic/pediococcus and brett culture. We predict it’ll be another six months until we can consider packaging this and then only if we’re happy with the flavour profile. However, having learnt a lot from the first batch and on tasting the second batch, we’re confident this beer will be fantastic and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you all.
Following on from the Sour Brown, we have also embarked on a significant project with our friends at Brooklyn brewery. We’ve very much kept this one under our hat (well not completely: 120 bourbon barrels raises a few questions during brewery tours!) as it’s something of a novel concept which has taken some thought and planning to make work. Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn’s Brewmaster and I were put in touch with Tom Oliver at Oliver’s Cider and Perry, who produces some of the most complex and beautiful ciders and perries in the country, relying on natural yeast and bacteria present on the fruit for fermentation. Throughout the last year, Tom has been posting us the lees from his fermentations for us to use…in a beer! I will explain more about this in a separate blog post, but we’re confident ‘Project Serpent’ will be something special.
With so many barrels (over 200 at the last count) requiring warmer than normal maturation temperatures and ever more interesting projects on the horizon, this year coming we will have a barrel room purpose built which will keep our ‘wild’ casks at an optimum temperature all year round and help us towards greater consistency of the process.
After a couple of visits from Rob and Simon and others from the Thornbridge Brewery. Garrett Oliver (no relation) from Brooklyn Brewery breezed in from the USA with a gang from his brewery. We looked at the simple, minimal intervention way we like to make cider and perry and then tasted a number of the outcomes, which seemed to meet with approval on the whole, despite some of the more challenging, tannic ciders being a new experience to some palates.
We are really excited by the possibilities this collaboration offers and can not wait to taste the resulting “beer”.