Just in time for the holiday season, Hood River, Oregon’s newest brewers at Ferment Brewing are adding two new barrel-aged beers to their stockings: L’ Or de Noir and Stock Ale. Both beers are now available at the brewpub and at select bottle shops in the Portland-area.
Ferment is fresh off of a Gold Medal win at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival for its Pale Ale. Head brewer Dan Peterson is a former brewmaster at pFriem Family Brewers, and is putting his skills with wild yeast and barrel-aging to work on the latest new releases.
Ferment Stock Ale and L’ Or are our 17th and 18th beers highlighted on our daily barrel-aged beer advent calendar with a new feature each day leading up to Christmas, view the rest here.
Stock Ale is a modern take on a rarely brewed historical British-style. Ferment brewed a strong base ale using traditional English Maris Otter malt and a selection of English specialty malts, with Golden Naked Oats for body and toastiness. They continued with the British theme in hopping by using classic Fuggle and East Kent Goldings hop varieties.
Stock Ale then took the long slumber in French oak barrels that had previously held red wine. Ferment added Brett Brux to those barrels. This wild yeast was isolated from traditional English ales and patented in 1904.
The name Brettanomyces was because of its “briton” British origin and “myces” for the characterization as fungus. The year that Ferment Stock Ale spent in the micro-aerobic environment of barrels lent the ale a subtle twang of sourness from the Brett and let the beer round out into an enjoyable sipper.
L’ Or de Noir
L’ Or de Noir is a wine-inspired beer based on Ferment’s Bière de Garde recipe, but made slightly stronger and robust to hold up to time spent in barrels. For this beer, Ferment used Belgian Chateau Pilsner and biscuit malts with some German malted wheat for flavor and mouthfeel.
The primary fermentation of L’ Or de Noir was handled by a farmhouse yeast that brewer Dan Petersen isolated himself on Mount Hood. After the initial fermentation settled down, the ale was loaded into barrels on top of a blend of red wine lees from Idiot’s Grace Winery in Mosier, Oregon.
For six months L’ Or de Noir aged untouched in barrels before it evolved to take on a distinct wine-like character. The barrels were then emptied and the beer filtered before bottling with Champagne yeast for a natural carbonation and bottle conditioning that resulted in a very dry and effervescent ale with pronounced dried fruit and dark cherry flavors over an oaky structure.
If you are interested in stocking Ferment Brewing and their new bottles or draft you can hit them up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.