Brewery Report: In the Lab with Spud

 QC Manager Spud

QC Manager Spud

Brewing science varies from simple tasting and observation to full laboratory chemical and microbial analysis. Over the past year Aslan has invested in analytical equipment and a laboratory program which has greatly improved the consistency and shelf-life of our beer.

 Beer samples filtering for distillation.

Beer samples filtering for distillation.

Brewery staff collect data using a wide range of tools from a simple microscope to the Gehaltemeter, an instrument that can detect oxygen in beer down to 5 parts-per-billion. Daily analyses include gravity, pH, O2/CO2 concentration, temperature, and yeast viability. Results are recorded into a logbook that we use to track fermentation, review process change, and determine when beer is ready to be packaged.

 Measuring out filtered beer sample for distillation.

Measuring out filtered beer sample for distillation.

Our laboratory located at The Depot is equipped to handle more in-depth analyses. Chemical methods are used to isolate compounds related to beer fermentation, such as 2, 3 butanedione or diacetyl. We use a spectrophotometer, a device which can detect very small changes in light absorbance, to determine the concentration of these compounds. With this information we can analyze recipe changes, monitor yeast productivity, and ensure consistent shelf-stable beer for our customers. Our lab runs analysis on IBUs (international bitter units), FAN (free amino nitrogen), color, settlement, VDK (vicinal diketones, aka Diacetyl) and total acidity.

 Samples distilling out diacetyl.

Samples distilling out diacetyl.

The Depot laboratory also houses our beer archive where all our canned beers are kept for shelf life analysis and as a reference if any customer complaints are made. Any canned beer that could be purchased in the market is accounted for by batch number in our archive, and the beer is stored warm to mimic bad market conditions it could face.  

Once a week the brew staff selects a sample of beers to taste for off flavors and overall stability of the beer. If a beer is found to be “out of spec” (not to our standards) we can use our data to determine what process may have influenced the quality of the beer.

 Adding reagents to beer distillate to initiate reaction.

Adding reagents to beer distillate to initiate reaction.

If anyone has questions about brewing science or about the brewing process, ask a brewer! You can find them performing sensory analysis at the bar after their shift, typically Monday-Thursday around 5pm.

-Spencer White


NOW ON TAP - The Duke

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The Duke (Ordinary Bitter)

3.3% ABV // 25 IBU // 1.035 OG

light body + peach tea notes + balanced

A true session ale and the original from the British Isles. What makes us most proud of this beer is the extra effort we took to make sure it was absolutely stylistically correct. The barley employed was a floor malted, heritage grain from the Wiltshire, and of the oldest malt house in England. The hops used are of the Goldings variety, also from England. The carbonation and clarity were created naturally, in the way real cask ale would be presented. And the yeast was of course of English origin. Notes of sun brewed peach tea and freshly baked baguette create complexity that finishes with a satiating balance between malt and hop. This beer is a refreshing reminder that low alcohol beers do not need to sacrifice flavor and complexity.

HOPS:
WGV
MALT:
Crystal 40, Plumage Archer

NOW ON TAP - Simcoe Slice IPA

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Simcoe Slice IPA

7.0% ABV // 10 IBU // 1.060 OG

medium body + dank + juicy fruit

We don't fine or filter this beer, yet it's more luminous than the over-abundant NEIPA. Chalk it up to a long conditioning period below freezing temperatures, or maybe it's the mash technique employed. Either way, this IPA is a very lucid expression of Simcoe hops. Being the only hop varietal used, the atypical sensory notes are abundant. Diesel-y, juicy vine fruit, and that catty-ness all finish brighter and more open than we have created before. Is bright a new thing? Or is this ocean of self expression within a category sinking the ship?

HOPS:
Simcoe
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Raw Wheat

NOW ON TAP - Charlie Foxtrot (Fresh Hop IPA)

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Charlie Foxtrot (Fresh Hop IPA)

6.9% ABV // 30 IBU // 1.058 OG

medium body + juicy + fresh

In what has turned into an annual tradition, we have again partnered with the great people at Growing Veterans Farm in Lynden, WA to bring you a fresh hop IPA. This year we joined Growing Veterans in planting, handpicking, and brewing a super fresh, locally sourced, organic IPA. This hop heavy IPA shows restraint in an unexpected, yet thoroughly satisfying way. It is both resinous, yet quaff-able, fruity, yet balanced. Much of this is derived from the combination of all the fresh C hops Growing Veterans provided, although the sneaky element in this beer is an experimental hop used for dry hopping. 5% of this beer's sales will be donated to back to Growing Veterans Farm.

HOPS:
Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Crystal, Mistral
MALT:
English Pale Malt, Oats, Spelt

NOW ON TAP - Roy Farms (Fresh Hop IPA)

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Roy Farms (Fresh Hop IPA)

7.0% ABV // 30 IBU // 1.064 OG

medium body + unfiltered + piney

A flavor intense exposure to the beauty of Centennial hops is expressed in this IPA. It began with a trip to our largest supplier of hops, Roy Farms, to purchase 50 lbs of wet organic Centennial hops. It ended with a heavy dry hop of even more Centennial. In between we fostered the transformation of raw ingredients, including large portions of malted and raw wheat, into this very expressive IPA. We used only Centennial hops to give a direct window into its character. Lots of doug fir and pine notes come through, adding to the apparent bitterness. Each year more acreage of this old school hop is pulled in favor of new experimental varieties. While not new and buzz-worthy, this varietal is one to cherish while it’s still around.

HOPS:
Centennial
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Malted Wheat, Raw Wheat

Growing Veterans // Aslan Brewing Co.

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Aslan Brewing Co. and Growing Veterans have partnered to raise money and provide a platform to promote Growing Veteran’s mission.

Growing Veterans farm and Aslan worked together to grow hops, harvest, and brew a special release beer called the Charlie Foxtrot IPA, which will be released on September 29th at a public event, the Fresh Hop Forum, at the Aslan Depot. A portion of the proceeds on all wholesale and in-house sales of Charlie Foxtrot Fresh Hop IPA will be donated back to Growing Veterans.

“Aslan Brewing’s guidance and support over the last year has been instrumental in the development and success of Growing Veterans Organic Hops program. We appreciate the opportunity to work with a local business that is committed to using organic ingredients, locally sourced goods, and sustainable practices,” said Scotty Irwin, Programs Director at Growing Veterans. “We look forward to expanding our organic hops program and future collaborations with Aslan Brewing Company.”

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Growing Veterans offers a new health care model that combines informal peer support with care farming. They create a safe space where veterans work together, support each other, and engage with their communities to have a successful transition home. This community interaction also lessens the divide between veterans and civilians. The model is helping achieve their mission “To empower military veterans to grow food, communities, and each other.”

“We chose to work with Growing Veterans because of their ability to directly impact people in need,” said Jack Lamb, CEO of Aslan. “We owe a lot to the veterans of this country, and yet they are often distanced from the resources they need to live a healthy life after service. No matter how you may feel about war or the military in general, we must understand that veterans deserve our help, just like any other active member of our community.” Since its opening in 2014 Aslan Brewing Co. has aimed at becoming a socially influential business in downtown Bellingham. Through its sustainability practices, non-profit donations, and community outreach Aslan has made a continued effort to lead by example.

“Growing Veterans is a model for what a motivated nonprofit looks like,” said Lamb. “They have found a way to not only make a difference in the lives of veterans, but to do so in a productive, creative, and interactive way. Through this collaboration, we will raise awareness for veterans in need and bolster Growing Veterans' ability to help those very men and women who have always had our backs.”

Growing Veteran’s vision is to make an impact on veteran suicide by targeting the root cause: isolation. Using the farm as the platform, they provide a space where veterans can work together, support each other, and engage with the broader community to have a full and successful transition home.

DONATE to Growing Veterans: growingveterans.org/fundraising/plantingourroots.html



NOW ON TAP - Let's Talk About Six (IPA)

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Let's Talk About Six (IPA)

6.66% ABV // 30 IBU // 1.058 OG

medium body + tangerine + juicy

Our good friends at Pint Defiance are celebrating their 6th year. They have not only been strong supporters of craft beer, but continue to push boundaries in beer stewardship. So when they asked us to make their anniversary beer, we were honored to oblige. For this IPA we focused on Chinook in the whirlpool, then double dry hopped it with El Dorado and Amarillo. This juice bomb is slightly hazy, mildly bitter, and exudes notes of orange citrus.

HOPS:
Amarillo, Chinook, El Dorado
MALT:
Carahell, Oats, Pilsner

NOW ON TAP - Das Boot (Helles Lager)

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Das Boot (Helles Lager)

5.0% ABV // 18 IBU // 1.050 OG

medium body + malt forward + crisp

In anticipation for Oktoberfest we honored a more modern tradition and created a Munich-style Helles lager. It's often said that Helles is the most technically challenging beer to create. It can be considered a measuring stick to a brewers ability. To pay respect to the forebearers of the style, no corners were cut. This beer employed a decoction mash, used only nobel hops, and was lagered for 6 weeks. This Helles is 100% naturally carbonated and served brilliantly clear.

HOPS:
Hersbrucker
MALT:
Pilsner

NOW ON TAP - Stillmatic (Brett IPA)

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Stillmatic (Brett IPA)

6.6% ABV // 20 IBU // 1.058 OG

medium body + tropical + funky

Brewed with continental malts and a large portion of raw wheat to sustain the Brett Brux culture that lives in the foeder, this beer was then fermented and subsequently aged for 10 months. At the end of its dormancy we sent the contents of the foeder into a the stainless tank that held the spent raspberries from our Pink Yoshi Berliner Weisse. We then dry hopped it heavily with Nelson Sauvin. Hints of raspberry, loads of pineapple, and a touch of white grapes; this beer is funky, but the brett brux is beautifully balanced into the overall flavor of this juicy treat.

HOPS:
Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, Pacific Gem
MALT:
Pilsner, Raw Wheat, Vienna

NOW ON TAP - Fish Have Feelings (IPA)

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Fish Have Feelings (IPA)

8.1% ABV // 8 IBU // 1.068 OG

big body + dank + juicy

Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland is hosting the Salmon-Safe IPA Festival for beers made with only salmon safe ingredients, and Aslan participated! Salmon Safe Certification means that the utmost care was taken to ensure that none of the practices used in the farming process negatively impacted the habitats of salmon. Mashed with a large portion of buckwheat and only hopped on the hot side in the whirlpool, it was then dry hopped with a ton Mosiac hops. This big, diesely dank IPA hides its ABV quite well. Check this link for more info on Salmon Safe Certification: https://salmonsafe.org/

HOPS:
Mosaic
MALT:
2 Row Pale, Buckwheat, Oats

NOW ON TAP - Big Iron (Altbier)

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Big Iron (Altbier)

5.2% ABV // 35 IBU // 1.050 OG

medium body + toffee notes + rich malt character

A recent trip to Dusseldorf, where much time was spent drinking Alt in the pubs of Uerig and Schumacher, inspired the production of this beer. We dont often attempt to re-create historical works, but in this case every possible detail of the production of Altbier was put under the microscope. As such, this beer went through the most intense mash regime we have ever employed. It was fermented with an ale strain very slowly and cold, and then lagered for several weeks. The rich malt character is a result of the intense mash profile. Its extraordinarily smooth body is due to the extended lagering. While its wonderfully crisp hop character is lent from the singular use of top quality Mittlefruh hops. We are thrilled with how this beer came out, and find it to be very representative of those found in Dusseldorf.

HOPS:
Mittlefruh, Premiant
MALT:
Caramunich, Carafa, Dark Munich, Munich, Pilsner, Vienna, Wheat

Planting with Pitchers

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Aslan Brewing Co. is partnering with the National Forest Foundation to combat deforestation!

"From urbanites in big cities to families in rural towns, we are all connected to our forests. But our forests need help. Natural disasters such as wildfire, insects and disease outbreaks are jeopardizing the very things that make our forests so wonderful, the majestic trees that grow from Maine to California. That’s why the National Forest Foundation is undertaking an ambitious effort to plant 50 million trees across our National Forests by 2023."

Aslan will donate $1 for every pitcher of Classic Light Lager sold here at the brewpub. For each $1 donated the NFF will also plant one native tree in a National Forest

The NFF will direct your donation to the areas of greatest need in our National Forest System. Many of our reforestation projects occur in the western U.S. where there is an outstanding reforestation need. Donations will be pooled with others’ support to fund these projects. 

Drink beer, save the forests!

Check out nationalforests.org/get-involved/tree-planting-programs for details on the project!

NOW ON TAP - Captain Ron (Tropical IPA)

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Captain Ron (Tropical IPA)

6.0% ABV // 20 IBU // 1.054 OG

medium body + piña-colada + honey dew

Imagine a honeydew piña colada floated with lime juice…that’s where this IPA will take your taste buds. After a few of them you may snap to it and realize you’re at sea with Captain Ron at the helm proclaiming “If anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!” Hopped solely with Mandarina Bavaria and mashed with an insane volume of un-malted wheat, this IPA will surely scratch the tropical itch.

HOPS:
Mandarina Bavaria
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Buckwheat, Raw Wheat

NOW TAP - Juice Box Hero (IPA)

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Juice Box Hero (IPA)

5.8% ABV // 30 IBU // 1.052 OG

medium body + tropical juice + pungent

Brewed specifically for our good friends at Chuck’s Hop Shop! Mashed with a combination of Skagit Valley Pilsner and Flaked Barley, along with floor malted wheat and oats. Hopped exclusively on the hot side with El Dorado, then double dry hopped with additional El Dorado and Nelson Sauvin. This IPA is dank, tropical juice with little to no bitterness. Fully attenuated with a nice dry, yet juicy finish.

HOPS:
El Dorado, Nelson Sauvin
MALT:
Flaked Barley, Oats, Pilsner, Wheat

Ally Ale - An Aslan // Northwest Youth Services Partnership

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In honor of Pride Month, Aslan Brewing Co. and Northwest Youth Services have teamed up to bring you Ally Ale, a Tropical Golden Ale, set to be released in draft and cans on June 2nd during Aslan’s 4 Year Anniversary Party. The partnership aims to benefit the Queer Youth Project, a NWYS program dedicated to supporting and advocating for at-risk and homeless LGBTQ youth. Aslan will donate a portion of sales of the Ally Ale on June 2nd. Through the donation and awareness campaign the Aslan // NWYS partnership will assist the Queer Youth Project in furthering its work in Whatcom County.

“As a society we have made a lot of progress for LGBTQ adults, but queer kids in our own county are still isolated and at risk,” states Page, Queer Youth Project Coordinator. “Knowing that local people care, even people they will never meet, goes a long way toward helping youth imagine a hopeful future. The most important person in any kid’s life is their parent. For many queer youth, their parents are unsafe. But as a community we can surround youth with the love and support they need to imagine a hopeful future.”

Jack Lamb, Aslan CEO also affirms, “It is part of our duty as community members to identify injustices and offer a helping hand to those in need. Despite being located in one of the most progress states in the country, we know that more work needs to be done to support the LGBTQ community in our own town. As allies of the Queer Youth Project, we are proud to use our resources for good and help Northwest Youth Services bolster their impact.”

Through compiling data from reports provided by NWYS and the True Colors Fund, we are able to paint a picture of the issues facing the LGBTQ community and the challenges that lie ahead for the Queer Youth Project.

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Page continues, “As a neighbor, coach, aunt, uncle or friend, you can be the one person who brings a queer youth hope. Almost 83% of queer youth in our county feel alone in life. Having Aslan include the Queer Youth Project in their celebration is fun and meaningful reminder to our youth that they are loved and supported by their community.”

Be sure to grab an Ally Ale on June 2nd at Aslan Brewing Co or make a donation at https://www.nwys.org/donate

 

 

NOW ON TAP - Coastal Pils (German Style Pilsner)

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Coastal Pils (German Style Pilsner)

4.8% ABV // 40 IBU // 1.046 OG

light body + zesty bitterness + crisp

Brewed in similar fashion to the northern German style pilsner, we named this beer Coastal Pils as a nod to Germany’s coastal region where notable examples exist. Not to be confused with a Bavarian Pilsner, this style has a more pronounced zest and citrus-like bitterness. While not German, we prefer the flavor of Czech Saaz hops, which were used at a rate of 1 lb per barrel to create the distinct hoppy flavor. This lager is fully attenuated, hoppy with a refreshing mineral finish.

HOPS:
Premiant, Saaz
MALT:
Pilsner

NOW ON TAP - Solo Jazz (Spring IPA)

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Solo Jazz (Spring IPA)

4.6% ABV // 54 IBU // 1.044 OG

lemon + crisp + quaffable

Ahhh remember the 90s? Remember session IPAs? We took inspiration from both to make a fresh, easy drinking IPA. Made exclusively with hops from New Zealand, Solo Jazz greets you with aroma of lemon and grapefruit. This refreshing IPA is perfect for spring time drinking on the patio.

HOPS:
Pacific Gem, Wakatu, Wai-Iti
MALT:
Flaked Barley, Munich, Oats, Pilsner

NOW ON TAP - Cave Dog (Rye Stout)

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Cave Dog (Rye Stout)

4.7% ABV // 29 IBU // 1.053 OG

medium body + dark chocolate + coffee

A take on a traditional dry stout - full of roasted barley depth, welcoming bitterness, and balanced coffee character all amplified by the complexity of rye malt. The pleasant chocolate aroma is followed by a rich mouthfeel and dry finish, making this beer an approachable and ABV friendly option.

HOPS:
Columbus, Chinook, Palisade
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Roasted Barley, Rye, Chocolate, Carafa

Aslan's 2017 Donations!

Aslan couldn't be more lucky to call Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest our home. The community in which we live is our greatest support system and we do all we can to give back. Our philanthropic efforts are focused on five essential community elements: Art & Culture, Health, Environment, Education, and Common Good. As a manufacturer and retailer of beer, we have a responsibility to not only maintain ethical serving practices, but also ensure that our impact on the community is not entirely centered around alcohol. Here’s to extending these efforts into 2018!
#aslanbrewing #bellingham

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