Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lots of feedback on Cab Franc/Belgian Ale hybrid

Thanks everyone for sharing their knowledge, experience and impressions on my prior post about including some Cab Franc grapes in a Belgian Golden Ale hybrid beer.

I'll write again shortly, but first I'll leave you with a few pictures from the harvest at Saltwater Farm. On this incredibly warm Halloween, the harvest went very quickly, as the yield was about 1/2 of what would normally be expected due to the abysmal weather we had this year. They normally would have harvested earlier in the month, but they tried to get as much sugar in the fruit by leaving them on the vines as long as weather would allow it. We were at least were able to help contribute pick a few trays of grapes (mostly so we could say we helped), but the majority of the work was well completed by the time we arrived from Boston. We primarily contributed to Michael and Merrily (the vineyard owners, and now friends) by talking to the prospective clients about our wonderful wedding experience at the winery.

In the midst of production, I was able grab the winemaker's (Dave) ear a bit, to appreciate some of the differences between beer and wine, which helped give me a bit more insight as to what I can expect from my attempt. I felt a great sense of familiarity when I saw the glass carboys and their S shaped airlocks bubbling away...they were propagating wine yeast for pitching on to the cab franc...which would happen after 3 planned days of maceration. When Dave heard of my planned experiment with the Cab Franc, I could see some warmth wash over him, and he simply replied " takes a lot of good beer to make good wine".

I also tasted the grapes right off the vine, as I always enjoy creating a sensory memory of the transformation that occurs through many steps in the journey from, fruit to glass. We had a very fun day and can't wait to go back for their official opening in a few months. Maybe I'll have something to exciting to share with them to encourage Dave to keep making good wine.

In truth, we didn't want the day to end...we just feel so at home in this farmhouse winery setting. Of course, I'd prefer it operate as a brewery, but perhaps there's a small stretch of land in pastoral Stonington that's destined for such an endeavor in the future.

On to the photos:

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