Cheers to the wonderful Yelp crew for making the Speakeasy Brew School field trip possible! If their beers haven’t made it to your neck of the woods, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is a small local brewery in San Francisco’s Bayview District. With only 18 employees, they somehow manage to bottle 30,000 bottles each year. Amazing!
I arrived a little late, so the line for tastings was a bit long, and we were too late to catch one of the tours. But, since I MUST BLOG THIS EXPERIENCE, we squeezed in to the last tour. Thanks Ruggy! Also, please don’t mind the blurry photos. I blame it on impaired vision due to high alcohol content beers (ie. Double Daddy Imperial IPA has a 9.5% ABV). They looked fine when I saved them.. I swear.
I pulled out my cellphone and started taking notes on Evernote (which is amazing btw). So here are my semi buzzed notes from this great tour led by our trusty Speakeasy guy, Brandon.
So, first they want to grab all the sugars from the barley, so they use tap water to soak/ extract the sugars. Next they want the hops/bitter from the hops, so they boil that shit.
Something about high acidity, so they have to use a whirpool to spin it to pull the hops. That’s how the beer has citrus/floral hop flavors. Yum! At this point, they cool it down to about 75°F with a heat exchanger, and put in the big vat possibly called “Cellar”. Stupid buzzed notes. Bear with me!!
Time to add yeast and oxygenate it! The yeast will consume the oxygen, and alcohol is produced! This takes approximately 5 hours. They use only primary fermentation (3-7 days) and once it hits terminal, they drop the temperature to 35°F. (Yeah, I don’t know what that means. Someone look up what terminal means..)
The yeast drops to the bottom, and here is when they add dry hops. Depending on how hoppy the length of time 4-8 days. This process of adding dry hops gives it the aroma.
To the DME (Diatomaceous Earth) we go! The DME filters all the organic material out, so the beer isn’t cloudy! We filter again via the sterile filter, add carbonation in the bright tanks, and bottle that delicious beer up.
Woot! And they ship these beers to most of California, some Washington/Oregon/ Nevada and NY. I personally enjoy IPAs, so I stuck with the Double Daddy. I did have a sip of porter and another strong ale that’s a collaboration from the local breweries. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name. Darn, note taking fail.
Stop on by the brewery on Fridays from 4-9pm to drink some good beer and go on a free tour. $3 chip for a pint. For $10, you can get two beer chips and a Speakeasy pint glass to keep! The brewery is kind of out of the way, but you can also get a growler full of beer for about $22. Not bad..
Oh, and all the mush that’s leftover from the barley and hops gets picked up by a farm, and the healthy mush is fed to their cows. Beer is food! Nothing goes to waste!
Amazing things are happening here.. including barleywine style ale from bourbon barrels! Hope you enjoyed my short paragraph of notes, turned blog-post! More blurry photos: here