We hinted at this a few weeks ago, but with the impending release of our new beer we thought it would be appropriate to get back to blogging and talk about a new project we’re working on!
Over the summer we had the privilege to get to know the team from Live Station Farm through their Hearth & Market Wood Fire Pizza Truck. Live Station Farm is a small but hearty specialty permaculture farm located in Southwest Michigan. They make products to sell and offer workshops for people to learn about environmental issues, healthy practices and DIY farming methods.
As we ventured into fall we started thinking about ways we could work together outside of the food truck relationship. After many discussions about various collaboration ideas we came up the idea for a seasonal collaboration beer over one particularly productive brainstorming session (with the help of a few beers, of course). The overall idea: brew unique beers that incorporate the fruits and vegetables harvested locally at Live Station Farm using their sustainable farming practices.
With that, we’re excited to release the first beer in this new series: Aster Bloom, a Rustic Harvest Ale that uses Honey and Sunchokes. Now, I’ll turn it over to Steve Zieverink from Live Station Farm to talk about what Aster Bloom means and the special relationship between these two ingredients.
“In ancient Greek, Aster means star and this native perennial is truly a sun plant. As the summer solstice begins and the sun is at its strongest point, Aster breaks from its long dormancy and emerges as soil temperatures begin to rise. It is highly efficient at capturing the sun’s energy, growing upwards of 13 ft. tall in only a few months. As the plant grows upwards, moving in the direction of the sun, the flower shape mimics the sun and stars. As the sun begins to fade in the fall, it flowers and thousands of pollinators visit the immense aster bloom, harvesting the pollen to create food stores for the winter.
At Live Station Farm we grow Aster, using the root called Sunchokes, and raise honeybees who feed on the Aster flower to make honey. These two ingredients have a symbiotic relationship and for this beer we utilized the entire plant and pollen in the beer making process. The Sunchokes were pit fired in the soil at the farm where they once grew, mimicking the sun and giving way to smoked charred notes.”
Steve Disasio, our head brewer, can now provide a bit of context on the beer itself:
“While walking the farm, spitballing ideas for a collaboration beer with Steve Zieverink from Live Station Farms, we were drawn to the idea of using not just a single item from the farm to focus on, but using multiple items that have a unique relationship to each other. We decided to create a beer to focus on the relationship of how this plant and insect need each other to flourish.
After using a pit fire to roast the sunchoke root, we were able to blend them with our malted grains in the Mash Tun to impart a subtle roasted and nutty flavor to the beer.
Coming full circle, we used the honey harvested from the hives at Live Station Farm, which not only adds a great deal of unique honey aromas but also completes the life and growth cycle of the Aster flower. The honey’s aromas are delicate, but it imparts subtle floral and earthy notes to the beer.
We decided to match this profile with a centuries old ale strain from Norway which creates a fantastic orange-like citrus aroma that blends nicely with the floral and earthy notes of the honey and leaves a clean canvas for the malt and sunchokes to shine through on the tongue. We took great care to showcase these special ingredients while creating this interesting, drinkable 8.2% Strong Rustic Harvest Ale.”
We hope you’re excited about this new project as we are and look forward to seeing you in the taproom to try out the first offering we have!