Steinbier Collaboration With Freigeist

A while ago I wrote about our VCBW Collaboration and how I didn’t entirely agree with Stephen Smysnuik of The Growler BC on collabs being a regular brew day.

Stephen should have attended this collab.

We partnered up with Sebastian Sauer of Freigeist Bierkultur out of Germany to make an old world Steinbier. Here’s how it went down (note I’ve taken a lot of liberties with this as my memory isn’t as good as it used to be).

  • April 2nd: I’m in a Ford Winstar van with Ben Coli (Dageraad), Mike Coghill (Yellow Dog) and Adam Henderson (Copper & Theory) driving from Calgary to Edmonton. I say “Hey Adam, I’d like to do a collab with one of the breweries you import.” Adam says, “You should do one with Freigeist. They’re German, you pretend to be German when it suits you, I think it’d be awesome.” A high-five is given waking Mike up who had been sleeping on Ben’s shoulder. He’s a cuddler.
  • April 4th: I tell the guys we’re doing a collab with Freigeist. Our brewer Eric jumps for joy, our Operations Manager Brian scowls at me as once again I’ve agreed to a collab with no tank space to do it in.
  • May 1st: “Let’s do a Steinbier” says Eric. I say, “A what now?” Eric explains to me that a Steinbier is made by heating up rocks super hot and running wort over it creating an intense boil and a lot of steam.  “It sounds super dangerous, let’s do it!”
  • May 2nd: We run the idea by Sebastian from Freigeist. Sebastian suggests we do a Gose instead as it would be less dangerous. About 5 minutes later ever brewery in BC comes out with a Gose so we decide to live dangerously. *Disclaimer: I love Gose and I’ve enjoyed a lot of great ones brewed in BC this summer, that sentence was used purely for entertainment purposes.
  • May 25th: We decide that the easiest way to get the Steinbier effect is heat up granite rocks in old kegs that we’ve cut holes into. We can then move the kegs into a vessel and pump the wort into that vessel and then back out again. Simple!
  • July 24th (9:00am): Brew Day. I go grab some coffee and meet up with the guys at the brewery. We begin heating the rocks in the kegs over a propane burner. Eric has a neat temperature gun. I hope it’s not expensive.
  • July 24th (11:00am): Sebastian brought some crazy beers and it would be impolite to not start drinking them.
  • July 24th (11:01am): Eric reminds us that we should probably do the forklift driving and all the hot rocks stuff before drinking. That’s why he’s also the Safety Manager.
  • July 24th (12:13pm): Eric lifts the hot rock kegs up with our forklift and Sebastian guides them into Pacific Breeze’s tank with an oven mitt. That’s right, an oven mitt. We all sigh with relief as the rocks are in the vessel and no one has died yet.
  • July 24th (12:30pm): Eric yells at Chardonnay to start the pump and we all lean over the tank watching the wort run and caramelize over the hot rocks. Steam builds, Sebastian says “who’s stupid idea was this?” we all laugh, drink more beer, and let Chardonnay deal with the rest of the work.

We’re super excited about this collab and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it! Thanks to Sebastian at Freigeist for coming by to brew with us. If you’re ever making a trip to Germany definitely pop into Freigeist Bierkultur.

The Steel & Oak x Freigeist Steinbier collab will be released on September 8th in our Tasting Room and shipping out to select liquor stores shortly thereafter.

-Jorden