Southern Brew News October/November 2014 : Page 1

Orchid Island Pareidolia and Nano Brewing on the Treasure Coast Founder and head brewer Alden Bing with the atmospheric water generator that supplies the brewing water for his Orchid Island Brewery in Vero Beach, Fla. “We’re pulling the water right out of the air,” says Bing, “I wanted to start with a blank canvas.” By Gregg Wiggins for Mondays, Bing is using Orchid Island’s three-barrel brewhouse to craft a selection he describes as “big beers and Belgian beers.” Along with a black IPA, Belgian-style blonde and Flemish red ales, the future beer menu includes plans for Citron , a saison seasoned with orange and lemon zest. Meanwhile, Orchid Island’s 8% abv Star Ruby Imperial IPA takes more than its name from a variety of grapefruit. “Orchid Island historically has the best grapefruit in the world,” says Bing. So along with citrus notes imparted by a blend of Pacific Northwest hops, grape-fruit zest is added during brewing to create an even fresher fruity flavor. “We started out using the grapefruit out of our yard,” Bing chuckles, “but we outgrew that.” The beer was first brewed as a gold-medal winning entry to a Brevard County, Fla. home brewing competition in 2012. At the time, rather than making it commercially, “I just figured we’d take a picture of the medal, put something up on Facebook and that would be it,” Bing told the Vero News website. Wild Heaven owners Nick Purdy and Eric Johnson pour themselves a sample of Civilization Barleywine in the brewery’s tasting room. P HOTO BY O WEN O GLETREE E By Owen Ogletree V ero Beach’s new Orchid Island Brewery is in an area of Florida which is noted for citrus fruit in the way California’s Napa Valley is known for grapes. Which helps explain why founder and head brewer Alden Bing, who con-siders Napa’s Russian River Brewing Company one of his inspira-tions, plans to create “our niche” of equally memorable beers that take advantage of the bounty of nearby fruit orchards to live up to a brewery motto of “Grove to Glass.” “We want to make contributions to the craft community with citrus,” says Bing. “This town was built around the citrus industry and we pay homage to where we come from.” The brewery’s name is taken from the coastal island on which the town of Vero Beach is located. Located in a Vero Beach retail complex a short walk from the ocean, with a brewery tasting room open afternoons except See Orchid Island p.3 ric Johnson, co-owner and brewmaster of Wild Heaven Craft Beers in Georgia's Avondale Estates, smiled as he dumped buckets of mission figs marinated in Madeira into the kettles of his new Autumn Defense Märzen . Eric explained, "This brew is a real lager with four weeks of cold conditioning -a horribly expen-sive idea for a small brewery. To me, great malt and hops are a can-vas, and the fig addition provides an added layer of nuance, com-plexity and originality." Proud of Eric's ability to be wildly creative and buck style trends, Wild Heaven's founder and co-owner Nick Purdy said, "Eric has a really hard job -making unique, esoteric beers that appeal to a wide range of people. Because our beers don't fit styles very well, we'll probably never win much at the Great American Beer Festival." Claiming to only be a small part of the Wild Heaven story, Nick Purdy sees Eric Johnson's inventiveness as the essence of the brewery's suc-cess. "I started Paste Magazine as well, so people know me," Nick mentioned. "I left the magazine because I was blown away by Eric's unbelievable uniqueness and creativity as a brewer. He doesn't see problems -he sees opportunities. Eric's an artist and a scientist, and his understanding of beer on a molecular level is like a highly trained lab guy." Contract Origins Eric and Nick began contract brewing the initial Wild Heaven recipes at Thomas Creek in Greenville, South Carolina in September of 2010, with their high-gravity Invocation and Ode to Mercy ales first being sold in the Belgian bar at Brick Store Pub in Decatur. Eric found contract brewing complex beer recipes in another state quite a challenging process. "Through the whole contract brew-ing experience, it was tough to even consider launching any new brands," he noted. "We always wanted to be dynami-cally involved in the brewing process. Now that we finally have our own facility, we can taste the beers daily to figure out when to cold-crash, dry-hop and package. Even with a great contract brewer like See Wild Heaven p.3 Tennessee ..................4 Florida ......................5 Alabama/Mississippi ...6 Louisiana ...................7 Georgia ................... 12 The Carolinas .......... 14

Orchid Island And Pareidolia

Gregg Wiggins

Nano Brewing on the Treasure Coast

Vero Beach’s new Orchid Island Brewery is in an area of Florida which is noted for citrus fruit in the way California’s Napa Valley is known for grapes. Which helps explain why founder and head brewer Alden Bing, who considers Napa’s Russian River Brewing Company one of his inspirations, plans to create “our niche” of equally memorable beers that take advantage of the bounty of nearby fruit orchards to live up to a brewery motto of “Grove to Glass.”

“We want to make contributions to the craft community with citrus,” says Bing. “This town was built around the citrus industry and we pay homage to where we come from.”

The brewery’s name is taken from the coastal island on which the town of Vero Beach is located. Located in a Vero Beach retail complex a short walk from the ocean, with a brewery tasting room open afternoons except for Mondays, Bing is using Orchid Island’s threebarrel brewhouse to craft a selection he describes as “big beers and Belgian beers.”

Along with a black IPA, Belgian-style blonde and Flemish red ales, the future beer menu includes plans for Citron, a saison seasoned with orange and lemon zest. Meanwhile, Orchid Island’s 8% abv Star Ruby Imperial IPA takes more than its name from a variety of grapefruit.

“Orchid Island historically has the best grapefruit in the world,” says Bing. So along with citrus notes imparted by a blend of Pacific Northwest hops, grapefruit zest is added during brewing to create an even fresher fruity flavor. “We started out using the grapefruit out of our yard,” Bing chuckles, “but we outgrew that.”

The beer was first brewed as a gold-medal winning entry to a Brevard County, Fla. Home brewing competition in 2012. At the time, rather than making it commercially, “I just figured we’d take a picture of the medal, put something up on Facebook and that would be it,” Bing told the Vero News website.

The water used for brewing Orchid Island’s beers does not come from the city’s supply or a dedicated well, but courtesy of Florida’s humidity. “We’re pulling our water out of the air with atmospheric water generators,” Bing says. The Australian-built machines deliver essentially pure water that can then be conditioned to create the ideal mineral content for various beer styles. “I wanted to start with a blank canvas,” Bing explains.

At first, distribution for Orchid Island’s beers will be draft only and primarily in Vero Beach and surrounding Indian River County, although Bing is open to the idea of sending occasional beers to craft beer friendly retailers in Orlando and other parts of central Florida.

The taps in Orchid Island’s tasting room will usually feature at least four or five of their own beers, along with four or five guest beers, “all Florida breweries,” he says. Orchard Island’s beer will also be available to shoppers at the nearby Vero Beach Saturday farmers’ market – sort of. Empty growlers sold at the market can then be brought to the brewery a short walk away for filling.

While the current brewery and tasting room location is downtown, Bing’s long range plans for Orchid Island Brewery involve an eventual expansion and a 20-barrel production brewery to be built among the citrus groves and away from the commercial center of Vero Beach. This larger production brewery would be used to make Orchid Island beer available throughout Florida and possibly beyond.

Orchid Island was the second brewery along what’s known as Florida’s Treasure Coast, following last year’s opening of the Sailfish Brewing Company to the south in Ft. Pierce, but a third Treasure Coast brewery has already set up shop to the north. Pareidolia Brewing Company, a one-barrel nanobrewery fifteen miles from Vero Beach in the town of Sebastian, opened its doors just one week after the Orchid Island Brewery’s.

“There’s been a big gap here on the Treasure Coast,” says Pareidolia’s founder and brewer Pete Anderson when asked about the opening of two breweries in one week. “You’ve had to go to either Melbourne or Ft. Pierce,” referring to towns a half hour north of Sebastian or south of Vero Beach.

The name of his brewery, Anderson explains, “is the word for when you see faces that aren’t really there,” such as turning lunar craters into the ‘Man in the Moon’. Anderson and his wife were in their backyard when she noticed a cloud that reminded her of the face of a cartoon character from TV’s “The Simpsons.” They discussed the phenomenon of pareidolia, he says, then “I just sat there drinking a beer and thought ‘Pareidolia Brewing’ just rolls off the tongue.”

For now Pareidolia’s beers are only available at the brewery’s strip mall tasting room, which is open every afternoon but Mondays. Along with the brewery’s own beers, the tasting room offers ten or so guest beers from other craft breweries along with light food items such as pretzels or fish dip. Growler sales are planned at the bar.

“Our goal is within two years to go to a ten barrel system with statewide distribution,” Anderson says.

ORCHID ISLAND BREWERY
www.orchidislandbrewery.com
2855 Ocean Drive, Suite C-1
Vero Beach, FL 32963
(772) 321-1244

PAREIDOLIA BREWING COMPANY
www.pareidoliabeer.com
482 U.S. Highway 1
Sebastian, FL 32958
(772) 584-0331

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Orchid+Island+And+Pareidolia/1836662/229052/article.html.

Wild Heaven = Wild Creativity

Owen Ogletree

Eric Johnson, co-owner and brewmaster of Wild Heaven Craft Beers in Georgia's Avondale Estates, smiled as he dumped buckets of mission figs marinated in Madeira into the kettles of his new Autumn Defense Märzen. Eric explained, "This brew is a real lager with four weeks of cold conditioning - a horribly expensive idea for a small brewery. To me, great malt and hops are a canvas, and the fig addition provides an added layer of nuance, complexity and originality."

Proud of Eric's ability to be wildly creative and buck style trends, Wild Heaven's founder and co-owner Nick Purdy said, "Eric has a really hard job - making unique, esoteric beers that appeal to a wide range of people. Because our beers don't fit styles very well, we'll probably never win much at the Great American Beer Festival."

Claiming to only be a small part of the Wild Heaven story, Nick Purdy sees Eric Johnson's inventiveness as the essence of the brewery's success. "I started Paste Magazine as well, so people know me," Nick mentioned. "I left the magazine because I was blown away by Eric's unbelievable uniqueness and creativity as a brewer. He doesn't see problems - he sees opportunities. Eric's an artist and a scientist, and his understanding of beer on a molecular level is like a highly trained lab guy."

Contract Origins

Eric and Nick began contract brewing the initial Wild Heaven recipes at Thomas Creek in Greenville, South Carolina in September of 2010, with their high-gravity Invocation and Ode to Mercy ales first being sold in the Belgian bar at Brick Store Pub in Decatur.

Eric found contract brewing complex beer recipes in another state quite a challenging process. "Through the whole contract brewing experience, it was tough to even consider launching any new brands," he noted. "We always wanted to be dynamically involved in the brewing process. Now that we finally have our own facility, we can taste the beers daily to figure out when to cold-crash, dry-hop and package. Even with a great contract brewer like Thomas Creek, you're essentially handing your kids over to someone else and hoping the finished product will turn out great."

Fitting In

This year, Wild Heaven completed its own brewing facility in a warehouse in the Avondale Estates neighborhood next to beer-centric Decatur, and Eric and Nick were hands-on in doing a ton of work to make the edifice attractive and aesthetically pleasing. "One of our investors came across the building," Nick said. "It's probably one of the best rent deals in the Southeast, and we are so happy that Avondale Estates has been so supportive. The city is kind of reinventing itself right now, with lots of renovation and even a new distillery."

When asked about the value of being a part of a local community, Nick replied, "Avondale and Decatur are becoming a craft beer destination. We arent "Beer Town USA" just yet, but we're getting there. The density of walkable craft breweries on this side of Decatur is impressive."

Nick and Eric see craft beer as a communal product that can hold a fundamental role in a creative, social community. "There's so much beauty, art and passion in the flavors and camaraderie that surround craft beer and make it a social beverage," said Nick. "We always have new people come to our brewery tours and say, 'Wow - I didn't know beer could be like this.'"

Passing the Beer Torch

Eric fell in love with brewing years ago while setting up an impressive brew system at home. With three adorable one-barrel, glycoljacketed fermenters, this homebrewery now serves as the convenient test-batch system at Wild Heaven, and allows Eric a means to produce small batches of unique brews that will only be available at Wild Heaven tours.

Fortunate timing allowed the guys at Wild Heaven to purchase Terrapin's old brew system and move it from Athens to Avondale Estates.

Eric even got to brew on the system at Terrapin about three months before it was decommissioned. "I knew the system well when we plumbed it in," noted Eric. "Terrapin got lots of free labor, and I got a free education. Our White Blackbird saison was the first beer I made on the system back in May after moving the vessels to our new facility, and the brew day was like hanging out with an old friend again."

Before Terrapin owned the brew system, it formed the original brewhouse for SweetWater. Eric sees this as "passing the craft beer torch around local breweries," and he appreciates the fact that the system is quite manual with low automation - just the way he likes to brew. Eric also installed a new heating calandria, lauter tun false bottom and control panels.

Inventive Recipes

Wild Heaven's current lineup includes Invocation Belgian-style golden ale, Ode To Mercy imperial brown ale, Eschaton Belgianstyle quad, Let There Be Light American pale ale, White Blackbird saison and Civilization Englishstyle barleywine. The Autumn Defense Märzen seasonal should also be pouring by early October.

With Wild Heaven, Eric wants to be distinctive and add to the lexicon and landscape of beer. "I want to come up with something new and exciting, and not try to 'out IPA' all the IPAs out there. Unlike winemakers, who can basically just tweak watering and when they pick the grapes, brewers have a tremendous range of opportunities regarding the variety of beer we can make, and something new and exciting that expands boundaries is always coming out - morphing with the evolving and maturing taste of craft beer drinkers. With craft beer, we just never bored."

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Wild+Heaven+%3D+Wild+Creativity/1836674/229052/article.html.

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