I'm not too sure why it has taken me more than four years to brew a Saison with honey. It is something that I have been wanting to do for years, but not until now, had the timing and the honey come together at the right time.
St. Louis is fortunate to host the Honey Beer Summit, a gathering of brewers and honey lovers, for the advancement of knowledge and technique with using honey in beer and as a fermentable. Last year, I was approached and asked to brew a beer for this summit, something to share with attendees and to host a tasting at the our brewery. Unfortunately, our brewery wasn't open yet and we were right in the middle of our buildout. This year, however, I purchased a brand new Missouri Oak Foedre from our local friends at Foeder Crafters, in preparation to brew and age this beer.
La Ruche, "The Beehive" in French, was an exciting beer to brew. Since it is a new Saison for us, we were able to use some new techniques that we've learned, try some new methods that we have been wanting to experiment with and ferment with a new fermentable to us. We changed up our mashing schedule and altered our grain bill in an attempt to create the softest, the airiest and the most billowy mouthfeel we could squeeze out of one of our Missouri Saisons. After our "Oudes" and "Têtes," this beer has one of the most inviting palate experiences in terms of roundness, softness and lushness. These techniques created such a positive experience on the palate, they are something that we are thinking about implementing in future batches of Saison du Blé and Bière du Pays.
We fermented this Saison with a Belgian Saison strain before moving the beer to our high-steam, low-toast, Missouri Oak Horizontal Foedre. At transfer, we inoculated it with our Missouri cocktail of local microflora. More than 1% of the ABV of La Ruche comes from the fermented Orange Blossom honey. The very soft and dry beer, when mature, showcased a beautiful balance of lactic acidity, almond and vanilla oak nuances, floral and citrus aromatics from the honey and our signature Side Project depth. La Ruche was then bottle conditioned for 6 weeks before being released and shared with you.
La Ruche is a new Saison that I hope I can brew once a year to share with you as it turned into a lovely addition to the Side Project Saison lineup. The to-go release will start July 22th at both the Brewery tasting room and The Side Project Cellar. $25 per bottle and the allocations will be based on turnout that morning. 6% ABV.
In addition to La Ruche on July 22th, Shared will also be releasing its first Double IPA in cans for to-go sales! Backpack Fashion Show is an 8% DIPA that was Dry-Hopped three times with loads of Motueka and Galaxy hops! Almost 8 pounds of hops per barrel of beer were used...
Thanks for your time and I hope that you enjoy our first Honey Saison and our first Double IPA on July 22nd!