Beaverton’s Little Beast Brewing has its first two specialty limited bottle releases this Saturday, a foeder aged beer called “Animal Family” and a strawberry version called “Dream State.” Both bottles will be released at the brewery this Saturday, September 30th, from noon to 5pm. We researched a little bit more into what you can expect from the latest by this farmhouse brewer.
Animal Family is Little Beast’s first foeder aged beer. Named for all the micorflora used to make it, it has 3 strains of Saccharomyces, 1 Strain of Lactobacillus, and then 3 strains of Brettanomyces in conditioning (foeder). For those not familiar, a foeder is a large oak vessel typically used to age wine or sour beer, it’s like a giant beer tank only it’s oak, so it imparts unique flavors and often houses wild yeast and bacteria in sour beer production.
It took the brewery five batches to fill the fifty hectoliter fouder that was previously used for Cabernet Suavignon production at Heitz Winery in St. Helena, California. It was filled within two weeks of being received with a complex base beer consisting of barley, wheat, oats and an array of malts to “layer it with as many subtle flavors as possible” according to Head Brewer/Owner Charles Porter. The malt/base grain bill was balanced so ni one flavor would dominate after fermentation with a house yeast, a blend of two Belgian strains and one French yeast plus Lactobacillus, a souring bacteria. “Once we had the foeder full, we added three different Brettanomyces strains for a vinous, fruity character and a little bit of funk” says Porter.
The Animal Family has diverse flavors of stone fruit, wood, citrus, barley, wheat, oat, and vinous characters. The malt profile is dominated by a diverse array of grains with layers of complexity created by the use of microflora and the residual flavors of the foeder.
Dream State – After the fouder beer aged for several months brewers racked it onto over 950 pounds of hand-picked fresh Oregon strawberries from Rossi Farms in Northeast Portland. They picked about half of the berries themselves with the help of several volunteers. The name “Dream State” comes from that state of going in and out of dreams, where you want to go back the dream you were just in. The beer makes you want to go back to that flavor and savor it.
The fruit can be difficult to use and strawberry beers are notoriously difficult to capture the flavor. Still, brewer/owner Chuck Porter has worked magic before as Head Brewer at Logsdon Farmhouse Ales when helping to create the award-winning Peche n’ Brett. One of the keys to brewing with fruit is putting proper screens in place during transfers to keep particles out, “With Dream State we lucked out because the strawberries floated to the top and maintained their shape. As far as doing anything different, we did less than we do with most other fruits,” says Porter. The complex but solid profile of the fouder aged base beer is important for the strawberries to meld with. The resulting beer has a strong fruit character with medium body, balanced complexity and subtle oak.
“Working with whole fruit is a passion of mine and I knew that if we put fresh whole fruit in a beer and let our microflora do “it’s magic we’d end up with a good product,” adds Porter on his work with fresh fruit beers.
Animal Family will be available in 375ml bottles for $9.99 SRP and is 9.0% abv, 23 IBU.
Dream State will be available in 375ml bottles for $12.99 SRP and is 7.0%abv, 13 IBU.
Little Beast Brewing
3800 Cedar Hills Blvd., Suite 300 E, Beaverton, Oregon 97005