Second of the Moveable Yeasts: Altared Amber

Dallas

Dallas Craft Beer Examiner

Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing continues its experimental series called Moveable Yeast with the release this week of their second beer in the family, the Altared Amber (pun intended). This beer is their normal Saint Arnold Amber Ale fermented with a strain of Belgian Trappist yeast, the specific origin of which was left unspecified.

Yeast is the most important ingredient in beer, which this series is specifically designed to spotlight. Malt and hops can provide a base that makes some beers taste similar to others, but the defining flavor characteristics can all be attributed to these little bugs. Recall the Weedwacker of a few months ago, and how simply using different yeast yielded an entirely different taste.

The traditional Saint Arnold Amber Ale is one of this brewery’s flagship products, and has been around for almost 15 years. It is a typical American amber style, lightly malted and lightly hopped, very mild and a pleasant drinker. Some might call it “boring,” or at the very least, “uninteresting.”

But add a Trappist yeast strain and it becomes a new beer altogether. The Altared Amber looks about the same, a light pale copper color with a foamy white head, but the aroma is immediately changed. The nose is yeasty and bready with a light citrus, and the taste is dry and mildly complex with a very small hop bite, finishing smooth and easy to drink.

Personally, I like this release better than the Weedwacker. This is a better pairing of ingredients with a more distinct yeast action, and would not be out of place as an imported light Belgian pale ale. This one I would buy year-round if available, especially in our long brutal summers.

Availability: Draft only and limited quantities, as are all the beers of this series. Found at the usually beer-focused establishments like Flying Saucer, Ginger Man and the like. Quantities are limited, so it will disappear quickly.

Cheers!


Originally published December 10, 2010, at Examiner.com

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First of the Moveable Yeasts: Weedwacker

Dallas

Dallas Craft Beer Examiner

This past summer, Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing announced one of the boldest experimental commercial brewing ventures ever heard of in Texas beer history.

They named this undertaking the Moveable Yeast series. Under development for a couple of years, the plan is to take four of their ordinary production beers and brew each with a contrasting strain of yeast that is atypical for the given style. The results? Risky, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The first of the series was released just recently, named Weedwacker. This beer has the base malt and hops recipe of their Fancy Lawnmower—which technically is a koelsch style—but fermented using a Bavarian hefeweizen yeast. A select few (such as this sample from the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas) were also dry-hopped with just a touch of Amarillo hops.

The result is equally bold and style-defying. It is light yellow and hazy served from a cask, with a heavy fresh yeast taste that lends a lot of lemony citrus. It has the slightly sweet malt flavor of the Lawnmower but with a grassy, almost fresh funky hay element. Although it has Czech and German roots, this beer may be able to pass for an authentic light Belgian farmhouse style.

If you can, sample this one with the regular Fancy Lawnmower side by side. I would call this first installment of the Moveable Yeast a success, and look forward to the others yet to come. And props to the Saint Arnold brewers for being willing to experiment.

Availability: Draft only, and released in very limited quantities, so it will disappear quickly. Found at the usual beer-heavy spots like Flying Saucer, Ginger Man and a few others. The dry-hopped versions were apparently distributed randomly, so ask which version they have.

Cheers!


Originally published August 28, 2010, at Examiner.com