Steinbier Hot Rocks Lager

Many of you may remember that at this time last year we did a collaboration with Freigeist Bierkultur out of Germany. The beer style was a Steinbier which translates to Stone Beer in German. The reason it’s called a “Stone Beer” is that we actually heat up hot granite rocks to boil the wort. It’s a very old-school way of doing things that is super dangerous and creates a lot of cool steam. So of course we wanted to do it again!

Well as luck might have it their owner and Head Brewer Sebastian Sauer was in town for the Farmhouse Fest a month and a half ago so we decided to give it another go!

So as I mentioned above the great thing about this beer is that you get to play with lots of dangerous stuff. We basically start the brew day by heating up rocks in a couple old kegs we got from our friends at Twin Sails. These rocks are heated up to just above 450° C / 850° F (we have a nifty gun that tells us this).

Once the rocks are up to temp we latch our forklift onto the kegs so that we can move them without burning ourselves.

The kegs are then lowered into a stainless steel container that we borrowed from our neighbours at Pacific Breeze Winery. Once the kegs (with the rocks inside them) are safely inside this container we start to pump the wort through the stainless steel container, over the rocks, and watch the magic happen.

The sugars in the wort caramelize because of the extreme heat of the rocks creating a huge blanket of steam and producing major caramel notes in the beer without being too sweet. The rocks also impart a hint of minerality on the finish making this Steinbier Lager full of bold flavours while still being refreshing.

Because of the intricacies of producing this beer we only made 1,700L of it. This means it’ll be available in bottles at select stores and on tap in our Tasting Room but won’t be available for growler fills.

You can have a look at the brew day below and further down a quick story on the new label design for this year’s version.

A quick story on the label design. Last year’s label ended up being a bit of disaster. We tried to get creative and do a clear see-through label that we ended up having to hand label and still got air bubbles underneath. If I hadn’t pre-launched the beer I likely would have waited for some new labels before sending it out. But lesson learned.

This years label is inspired by German constructivist graphic design and was created by our incredibly talented designer Sami Christianson.

Well that’s the short version of the creation of this year’s collab with Freigeist. If you want to read about last years experience feel free to click here.

The Steel & Oak x Freigeist Bierkultur Steinbier will be hitting the shelves this week!

Cheers,

Jorden

Cup of Kaffee

The following is a conversation had before we decided to make the first batch of Kaffee a year ago. I may have taken some liberties with what was said.

Eric: I want to make a Blonde Ale but with coffee in it.

Me: So the beer is going to be blonde in colour too? But tastes like coffee? Weird.

Eric: Yes, so you’ll look at it and think one thing, but when you smell it and drink it you’ll taste another thing.

Me: That doesn’t sound very German.

Eric: It’s not.

Me: I don’t know why I just said that. We do make other beers that aren’t German influenced.

Eric: So are you into it?

Me: Yes, it sounds cool. What are we going to call it?

Dan: Kaffee. It’s coffee translated into German.

Eric: But this isn’t a German influenced beer.

Me: But Kaffee sounds too awesome to not call it that. So let’s do it anyways.

Thus, Kaffee was created! This batch of our Coffee Blonde was once again brewed with our friends at Timbertrain. The 2017 batch of Kaffee uses coffee sourced from small holder farmers in Ethiopia’s Guji Sidama region. These beans create an aroma of brown sugar, grapefruit, and caramel while Kaffee’s simple malt base provides a crisp finish and a subtle biscuit flavour that interplays well with the cocoa and roasted flavours that the coffee imparts.

Kaffee is available in limited fashion in our Tasting Room and is shipping out to Metro Vancouver this week!

*Easter Egg: I managed to use the word “provides” 3 times in the Kaffee label writeup. No one noticed. I apologize.

Cheers,

Jorden

Coorinna

Coorinna is believed to be one of the names that Aboriginal Tasmanians called the now extinct Thylacinus, or as we know it, the Tasmanian Tiger. We named this beer after the marsupial with distinct tiger-like stripes as one of the main ingredients comes from its former homeland, Tasmania.

Wild harvested Tasmanian Pepperberries are at the forefront of Coorinna imparting a hint of citrus and fresh-cracked pepper. Wakatu and Motueka hops from New Zealand were added for notes of tropical fruit and lime and lemon zest.

You may recall that we used Tasmanian Pepperberries in last years VCBW collaboration brew, Tu Meke. Coorinna is a spinoff from Tu Meke and although the recipe has changed the refreshing citrus zest aroma and crisp, dry, peppery finish remain the same.

Coorinna is on the liquor store shelves now for a limited time, and of course is available in our Tasting Room. This one will make it over to the Island and the Interior so keep an eye out!

Cheers,

Jorden

SO3 Birthday Party

We’ve turned 3 so we’re throwing a family friendly Birthday Party and you’re invited!

Here are the details:

  • What: SO3 (Steel & Oak’s 3rd Anniversary)
  • When: Sunday July 9th, 3-6PM
  • Where: Back Parking Lot of Steel & Oak

For food – there will be a Bratwurst Bar by our friends at Bestie and popsicles from Johnny’s Pops. For music – we’ll have DJs spinning vinyl from our own Tasting Room collection. For fun – there will be a lawn set up to bring a backyard feel to the concrete parking lot complete with all your favourite lawn games. For the kids – we’ll have face painting and two, that’s right TWO bouncy castles!

Of course we’ll have lots of beer including:

  • Sapperton
  • Coorinna
  • Towers And Trains
  • Weekend Plans
  • Smoked Hefeweizen
  • Shiny Things
  • Marzen
  • Blackthorn

No need to RSVP, just make plans to be at our place on July 9th from 3-6!

Cheers to 3 years,

Jorden

 

S&O Satellite Patios this Summer

So Steel & Oak doesn’t have an outdoor patio. I wanted to put one on the roof but our landlord said no. I wanted to put one in the parking lot but the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch said no. I wanted to put one under the overpass but the City said no.

However, I have good news for S&O sun seekers this summer in New West! We will be a part of 3 massive patios (one possibly the biggest in BC but don’t do too much digging on that).

First up is this Saturday at The Paddlewheeler Pub! Our friends down the boardwalk are having a party this weekend with lots of beers from yours truly. The sun should be shining and we’ll be bringing some special brews to help kickoff patio season in New West. The Paddlewheeler will have a fresh sheet just for Saturday so come down, have a couple beers, and try some new eats from this New Westminster staple.

Second is Music By The River. It takes place every Thursday in July at Westminster Pier Park and the best part… the City has decided to license the ENTIRE PARK!!!! This means that you can bring the family down for a picnic, play some volleyball or bocce, buy a Steel & Oak beer or glass of Pacific Breeze wine and enjoy some live buskers and DJs from 5-8pm.

Music By The River is a pilot project put on by the City of New Westminster, The Arts Council of New West, and City to Suburb Realty. Please head down, drink responsibly, and help make this a success. Wouldn’t it be rad if Pier Park was a venue where you could hang out with friends or family and have an adult beverage anytime of the year? How civil!

And the third outdoor patio for Steel & Oak this summer is Fridays on Front! This kicks off July 7th and is every Friday until August 25th on the brand new Front St!

The street will be closed to traffic from 5-8pm on Fridays so that you can walk like a boss down the middle of Front St. enjoying local artisan vendors, live music on the Arts Council Stage, crafts for the kiddos, food from a rotating cast of Food Trucks and of course beer from your favourite New West brewery 😉

Steel & Oak will be pouring out of Vancouver’s first bar truck, The Vagabond Event Bar. This means you’ll be able to get craft beer and a selection of wine from a rad little converted trailer. And just like Music By The River, the WHOLE STREET IS LICENSED!!!! So you will be able to do some window shopping and wander without worrying about the in and out privileges of a traditional beer garden.

So although that rooftop patio may be something that I dream about during my limited amount of sleep at night, at least you’ll be able to enjoy the sun and have a craft beer this summer in New West.

Cheers,

Jorden

Shiny Things IPA

Hey we made an IPA! But in typical Steel & Oak fashion we put a German twist on it.

The first edition of Shiny Things showcases the newer hop varietals coming out of Germany with generous additions of Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria, and Hallertau Blanc. This unique German blend creates aromatic notes of honeydew, tangerine, strawberry and lemongrass. Smoothness from a simple malt bill of Pilsner malt and oats with a crisp piney bitterness makes Shiny Things a hoppy and refreshing choice when perusing the Steel & Oak beer fridge.

Now Shiny Things is a concept we’ve been working on for a while. In the early days (2014 lol) we actually called it the Projekt series. It was a series of draught only hoppier beers with the purpose of testing out new hop varietals. As we increasingly got busier and busier we had to cancel the program in order to brew a lot more Red Pilsner and Royal City Ale. Now that we have added some more capacity we’ve been able to bring this idea back… but in a more hop heavy way. Shiny Things will become the new Projekt. Changing each batch, allowing you to experience the different hop varietals the world has to offer.

Label design was once again done by the talented Sami Christianson who provided me with many different shiny designs but this one was my favourite.

Now I don’t want anyone to get over excited and think that we’re going to be brewing #SOIPAs™ all over the place. This is just a limited run. Although we did just put a fresh batch of Towers And Trains in the tank…

I really hope you enjoy this very Steel & Oak take on an IPA!

Cheers,

Jorden

*Editors Note: The Doan Bros made the first German style IPA I had ever seen. It is delicious and you should get that too.

Roselle

We’re super excited to announce a new Flagship at Steel & Oak, Roselle Wheat Ale!

At S&O we’re known for doing quite a few German-style beers, yet we’ve never had a year-round Hefeweizen. Well, I hate to disappoint but although it’s loaded with wheat malt Roselle isn’t a Hefeweizen. Roselle actually uses Belgian Ardennes yeast fermented at a cooler temperature in order to bring out those banana notes that you traditionally find in a German Hefe. You’ll also notice that Roselle pours a cloudy amber in colour. This is because we’ve used Hibiscus and Rose Hips to add floral and fruit notes as well as a slightly tart finish.

So while not a German brew when you do take your first sip of Roselle I can assure you that you’ll think “yes, this is definitely a Steel & Oak beer.”

Like many of our beers Roselle has been a long time in the making. In fact, I don’t think we’ve tweaked any beer as much behind the scenes as Roselle. We wanted to make sure that the Hibiscus and Rose Hips added the desired tartness and just enough aroma and flavour to balance out the banana notes. What we think we’ve achieved is a well-balanced refreshing wheat beer that will go great at the beach in the summer and will be a complex companion with the heavier meals of winter time.

Roselle joins Royal City Ale, Red Pilsner, West Coast ESB, and Dark Lager as the only beers available all year from S&O and will be available in Metro Vancouver this week, Vancouver Island next, and the Interior soon after.

Cheers,

Jorden

Flagships

 

Weekend Plans

This week we’re releasing Weekend Plans. A beer that our Head Brewer Eric has been working on for a couple years now. Here is a short blog post on the creation of this beer and the branding behind it!

When Eric first thought up Weekend Plans it was because he wanted to make a Berliner-style Weiss but with oat malt instead of wheat. We called this in the brewery, Berliner Oat.

Berliner Oat started out with a fairly traditional German hop bill but we found that the lemon and lime qualities from the lactobacillus (what we use to sour up the beer a touch) went really well with the citrusy qualities of some North West hop varietals. So we switched it up. We also wanted it to be low ABV (3.9%) but still have some mouthfeel to it which is where the oat malt comes into play. With all of this we feel like Weekend Plans is an insanely refreshing beer that should go well in the midday sun we’re hopefully getting this weekend.

I’ll tell you a brief story about the label too. When I came up with the name Weekend Plans I had in my mind something that felt like you were hanging out on your porch or patio, relaxing with a beer after mowing the lawn. But keep in mind I’m 33 with a wife and child, so that is exactly how I spend my weekend. Our designer Sami on the other hand is in her 20s so when she sent me the first draft of her design ideas I had a laugh to myself as her rationale behind the design was pretty much the opposite of what was in my head:

“The thought of ‘weekend plans’ made me think of running around all over the place, doing different things every weekend. Scattering yourself around the city if you will.”

Sami and I live very different lives. Anyways, as most design decisions go I just went with Sami’s expertise and the first label of Weekend Plans was designed. However, after staring at it for a while I felt like it looked a little too close to Big Boy Pants by Twin Sails which had been released earlier in the year. We didn’t want to step on any toes so we decided to switch it up to a more Steel & Oak minimalist approach, I’ve included the original design and the new design below so you can see for yourself.

Weekend Plans

Now you’ve got some inside knowledge into how we developed Weekend Plans and the label behind it. Hope you enjoy the beer as much as we do!

Cheers,

Jorden

Smoked Lager

Steel & Oak’s beer styles always find a way back to Germany. One way or another. It’s what we’ve become known for and even as we diversify our lineup German styles will always be what we come back to.

A lot of what Steel & Oak does is actually tied to Bamberg Germany in particular. Bamberg is known for its Rauchbiers (smoked beers). We’ve brewed a lot of these over the years, Smoked Hefeweizen, Smoked Dunkelweizen, Smoked Honey Doppelbock, just to name a few. Some of you may also remember a Rauchbier we made simply titled Smoked Lager. We brewed it in 2015 and it was a draught only beer. It was a staff favourite and we decided to bring it back!

The interesting thing about this otherwise fairly traditional Bamberg smoked beer is that we dry hop it with some Pacific North West hop varietals giving it a citrusy nose that balances the smoked malt. We’ve tweaked this since 2015’s batch and feel that it’s more accessible to those that may not be into smoke as much as we are. 😉

Smoked Lager is available in bottles around Metro Vancouver and in our Tasting Room. It also won’t be the only smoked German-style beer we’ll be bringing back this month…

Cheers,

Jorden

Quayside

“It’ll be nice out by mid April, let’s do a refreshing Pale Ale with guava and Sacch Trois yeast” is what was said a couple months ago when we started to develop Quayside.

As we now know, it is not that nice out mid April, so I guess Quayside is really a refreshing light Pale Ale for the warm rainy season.

Our brewer Eric really loves guava. So much so if I didn’t say anything we’d just be a guava based brewery in New West. Guava Hefeweizen, Guava Lager, Guava Honey Doppelbock, etc… Surprisingly this is the first beer we’ve released with guava in it!

Quayside is made with Pilsner, Oat, and Wheat malt. We conditioned it on guava and let the Sacch Trois yeast ferment it out a bit so that it has refreshing tropical notes but finishes crisp and dry with a touch of funk.

We decided to call it Quayside as you’ll only be able to get it at our brewery which is technically quayside… although it looks more like overpass-side, busystreetside or railside depending on the angle you’re arriving from. Going forward we’ll be making a little more volume of these single batch cans, like we did with Towers And Trains, but for now you’ll need to get down to New West to try it. It’s beautiful here so you should probably visit anyways 🙂

Cheers,

Jorden