Karen's Wild Ales
I have been brewing and fermenting raw materials most of my life. In 40 years of making herbal medicines, botanical body care products, artisanal cheese, bread, sauerkraut, pickled and smoked fish and meat, wine, pottery and sculpture, the process has become pure alchemy. While I dabbled with beer in the 1980's, I became serious in 2009, when my husband, Terry, and I were bitten by the taste for Belgian Ales.
Alive and Unfiltered
Karen's Wild Ales are artisanally crafted in the tradition of the Belgian Farmhouse where it's all about the yeast. Simple grain bills, subtle hopping and months of aging allow the yeasts to shine in all of their floral, spicy and funky glory. We are also working on the brave new world of ceramic fermentation.
Sour Saison with Wildberries
This is our Rustic Saison base beer soured on pounds of fresh, wild raspberries with an extra dose of lactobacillus and pediococcus. Bright, light, tart and refreshing.5.5% ABV.
Farmhouse Gold- American Wild Ale
With a base of pilsner and vienna malts, these ales are mixed fermentation, or in some cases 100% Brettanomyces. Strange, beguiling, and ever-evolving, these brews offer complex flavors and aromas from barnyard funk to citrus and peaches. 7.5% ABV.
Combination of fruity and spicy flavors supported by a soft malt character, a low to moderate alcohol presence and characteristic dry finish. Pilsner and wheat malts; noble hops. 6.5-7.5% ABV.Enter description text here.
Strong Golden Ale
Classic marriage of fruit and spice with a soft malt character. Moderately bitter, very dry finish, highly carbonated. Pilsner and wheat malts; noble hops 7-8% ABV.
Like the true farmhouse ales of old Belgium this beer features a varied grain bill of barley, wheat, rye, and oats. Subtle oak and dry hopping give this session ale a very complex flavor. Mixed fermentation with brett, lactobacillicus and pediococus make a refreshing, tart, and refined finish. 5% ABV.
While we love a good IPA, Pils, or Stout, we found no point in brewing them - there are too many great and affordable examples out there already today. For the time, cost, and effort involved in brewing a few of cases of IPA, I'd rather be hiking or making art and getting beer from my local brewery.
But Belgian Farmhouse, Trappist, and Lambic ales such as Cantillon, Orval, Duvel, Saison Dupont, Rochfort are a different story. These imported beers are expensive in the USA, and quality varies due to shipping and storage conditions. In 2009, there were just a few American breweries producing these beers and today, in 2016, there are hundreds! The brewers who have most inspired me are Chad Yacobson at Crooked Stave; Michael Tonsmeire, the Mad Fermentationist; Gabe Fletcher at Anchorage; Ron Jeffries at Jolly Pumpkin; Jason Yester at Trinity; Nate Walter formerly at McKenzie's, now at Free Will; John Stemler at Free Will; Dr. Lambic at The Sour Beer Blog; and my friends and teachers from the Berks County Homebrew Club especially Matt Vardjan, Colin Presby, Mike Kuhns, Matt Kennedy, and Joe Moran.
As a business person, I saw a potential nitch in providing Wild and Sour Ales for the local market of eastern PA. In 2009, I began home brewing these beers with a joyful obsession. In 2011, I sold Karen's Botanicals (manufacturer of organic, plant-based body care products) and exchanged the herbs, flowers and roots in my kettle for barley malt and hops. In 2013, I began to enter and win homebrewing contests. I like brewing the same beers over and over dialing in subtle variables. The goal is to one day, commercially produce a focused line of American Wild and Sour Ales for lovers of these beers in our region of the northeast. For now, I am a seriously enthusiastic, non-commercial home brewer.
To consider, then gather the clay for the body of a pot, the grains for the grist of a beer, the plants and oils for the formula of a cream, to meld them then in flame and time, the hops as handles, spice as glaze, and always above and beneath, the creative, procreative force, the spirit that defines its being as life force, as art, as yeast, as the divine.
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