By William Brand
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 9:33 am in Uncategorized.
I wrote about a new favorite beer of mine in my column today in the Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times: Le Freak, from Green Flash Brewing in Vista near San Diego. Green Flash is one of the leaders in the Double IPA style that’s made San Diego County famous.
Le Freak is a brilliant copper color with a thick head of foam and an interesting kind of brett-like (wild yeast) nose. Taste starts out mildly sweet with a rising dryness and slight spicy, sour note that made me think of a beer brewed with brettanomyces.
It isn’t. After I filed the column, Green Flash head brewer Chuck Silva called me back and told me a bit more about the beer.
- “It’s a creative style and I’m really proud of it,” Chuck said, “I call it ‘Belgian-style tripel meets San Diego imperial IPA.’ I guess I was inspired by Belgian brewers. If they can do a hoppy Belgian, I can do a Belgian-style beer my way.”
He explains that the beer is fermented with two yeasts, the Green Flash house yeast and a Belgian yeast. He starts with regular Green Flash Imperial IPA mash. (This is a big beer, 9 percent ABV. But it has such striking balance that it drinks like a session beer.)
The mash is a blend of two row pale barley, a little bit of Carastan, a British crystal malt that provides a full mouth feel and color and crystal malt. Hops are all American, Summit and Nugget. It’s dry hopped during fermentation with Amarillo. The hop blend gives it a delicious, orange marmalade note.
He starts fermentation with a White Labs Belgian-style yeast, then on the second day, adds their regular American ale yeast, the same White Labs yeast used in the regular triple. As he says, it’s definitely Le Freak. Oh yes, it’s bottle conditioned with fresh yeast. And it’s 9.2 percent.
The Le Freak in stores now was made months ago and Chuck says he’s about to brew a new batch. That should be interesting, comparing the two, the fresh and the aged. I’m gonna’ do that definitely.
Can’t find Le Freak? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for my Bay Area Retail Beer Store List.