Monday, October 24, 2016

Champagne Ale a final toast to Franconia's World Tour

Image courtesy of Franconia Brewing Co.

Representing the final stop on the brewery's 2016 World Tour, this week Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney will bottle and release its Champagne Ale (~7% ABV).

Now, whether you realize it or not, that statement actually contains two bits of news. That's because the World Tour series was originally supposed to consist of four beers (including English Stout, Belgium Ale and another), but owner Dennis Wehrmann says there's been a slight change of plans.

"We're going to close out the World Tour with Champagne Ale," said Wehrmann. "The Baltic Porter, which was originally going to be the final World Tour beer, is now becoming our regular winter seasonal."

That means Winter Wheat, Franconia's original winter offering, will enter into hibernation for the time being.

Graphics for Franconia Baltic Porter will still feature the design intended for the World Tour line, with the
"Seasonal" designation replacing that of the "World Tour 2016" along the top of the circular logo (Franconia Brewing Co.).

As for Champagne Ale, Wehrmann says the brewery employed the same recipe it used when the beer first debuted as one of five brews released in association with Franconia's fifth anniversary in 2013. Essentially a take on a bière brut, Champagne Ale is brewed with a wheat beer base that's then fermented with French champagne yeast.

Speaking of the 2013 vintage, over the past three years you may have noticed parts of the original batch appear occasionally as a festival offering. In fact, one of the last remaining kegs from 2013 tapped as recently as the 2016 Big Texas Beer Fest.

The implication there is that Champagne Ale is a beer that's expected to age well. Fresh out of the tank the beer features upfront elements of pineapple, passion fruit and other tropicals, with a hint of tartness coming out in a finish that's dry and slightly vinous. Yet, if the 2013 edition is any indication, this beer will grow even more complex over time.

"Champagne Ale will be highly carbonated, and with a little of the inactive yeast in there, this beer is perfect for aging," stated Wehrmann. "After two years, more tartness will develop and it will become even more wine-like."

Look for Champagne Ale to be offered on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. A series of launch events is also expected to occur, with special World Tour glassware to be offered at select locations.

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