Lloyd's Lager, a year in the making...

We just released Lloyd’s Lager. We brewed it just in time for the 48th Annual Stearman’s Fly-in, for those who know their history the name of the beer is a nod to Lloyd Stearman. We also felt this was the perfect lager to usher us out of summer into the beautiful MidWest fall.

Lloyd’s Lager is modeled after the great California Common and steam beers of the nineteenth century. However for us, what makes us proud of this beer, is not only the love it is already receiving from our friends and customers (we’ve been through two kegs in two days), and the compliments we have received like, “this may be the best beer you have brewed“ or “this is so classically good“, but the work and time that went into this beer to make it what it is! Allow me to explain.

This lager has actually been in the works for about a year. I’ve never been a real fan of lagers, I’m not sure why, but I haven’t. Then someone introduced me to the Steam Beer or California Common, and now a lager is one of my new favorite go-to beers. I needed to make this beer!

So, I did what all brewers do, and began to study these styles and drink as many different versions as I could. From there I started to play around with brewing this style at home. In fact, it took me three different versions before I let anyone try it. Then I attempted to duplicate it at the brewery, and under the radar, released about 12 bottles around January of last year. For those who tasted it, they loved it.

However, up to this point, I had only brewed it in a 2.5 gallon batch, not a 120 gallon batch. I knew the yeast I wanted to use, and I had never used it before, so, every lager we have made this year - Liberation Lager, Liberation Xtra, Brickyard Back, and Wanderlust Pilsner were all experiments in learning how to guide the yeast to get the profiles I wanted. Then I used a water profile that would allow me to extract, highlight, and enhance the qualities of the grain bill I felt best for our version of this style.

Once we felt we had a grasp on our goal, we waited till we were about six-weeks out from the fly-in and labor day weekend to brew the beer. We followed all the old-school directions for this style - fermented and lagered a little warmer than most lagers, and then…wait for it…we allowed the beer to naturally carbonate to about 70% of the carbonation level and then force carbed the rest. I know naturally carbing a beer in a larger fermentation vessel as opposed to forced carbonation is really tricky and takes a lot of time, but, I believe the quality it adds to the beer is worth it. You can expect us to begin playing around with natural carbonation which will only add another layer of pure deliciousness!

The way we made this beer reminds me of a life well lived. The best things we can ever do take patience, commitment to long processes, a love for learning, and plenty of failures & new beginnings, before we get what we want. Often times the process makes us feel like quitting, but if we stay committed to the process, more times than not, the end result is better than we expected!

Matthew and Sarah Hansen