Friday, April 8, 2016

Belgium the next stop on Franconia's World Tour

Image courtesy of Franconia brewing Co. (click to enlarge).

With the eminently drinkable English Stout preparing to wind up its run as the inaugural offering in the brewery's new World Tour Series, Franconia Brewing Co. is readying the release of what will be the next stop on its journey to explore different brewing traditions from around the globe.

For Belgium Ale (6.2% ABV), brewery owner Dennis Wehrmann left it to head brewer Cam Horn to develop a recipe inspired by the brewing traditions of Belgium, a country that lies to the west of Wehrmann's homeland in Germany. And it seems a natural choice, considering that both countries are home to a brewing heritage that dates back hundreds of years.

When it comes to making beer, though, the brewing traditions of the two countries couldn't be more different. Take the whole idea of the Reinheitsgebot, for example. Otherwise know at the German Beer Purity Law, the original version of the law limited the ingredients that could be used in the production of beer to barley, hops, water and (later) yeast. In other words, things one might find infused in a Belgian beer, like fruits, spices or even candi sugar, would not be things one would include in a traditional German beer recipe.

Some might say this puts a strain on creativity when operating within the confines of the Reinheitsgebot, but ask Wehrmann what he thinks about that and you'll get a response along the lines of, "Well, the last time I looked there wasn't just one type of variety of hop...or one strain of yeast." Indeed, outside of a couple of notable exceptions (remember the brewery's Oatmeal Stout?), Franconia has always found ways to find flavor within the four basic beer ingredients. It's that approach that has guided the brewery throughout its existence, and that's was has guided it once again in the creation of Belgium Ale.

Brewed with a mix of pale and pils malt, a traditional yeast strain and a single hop variety, Belgium Ale is a beer I would describe as fruity and funky, with a touch of spice. The funky bit comes from the yeast, of course, while the fruit and spice comes from the hop we know now as Nuggetzilla. It gives Belgium Ale a pop of pineapple flavor, which coupled with the beer's bright effervescence makes for refreshing beer that should pair well with a warm spring day.

As for when you'll be able to get it, that all depends on TABC approval. Assuming that happens over the course of the next few days, expect Belgium Ale to appear for sale on draft and in 4-packs of 12 bottles. In the meantime, you can try the new beer at the brewery in McKinney during Franconia's regular Saturday tours.

Currently scheduled events featuring Franconia Belgium Ale:

April 9 - Frisco StrEATS Gourmet Food Truck and Music Festival, 1 p.m.
April 16 - Pint Afternoon at Old Iron Post in Sherman, 3 p.m.
April 19 - Brewery Night at Lone Star Taps & Caps in Denton/Lewisville, 5 p.m.
April 21 - Pint Night at LUCK in Dallas, 5 p.m.

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