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Jul 29, 2014

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GABF brewers' diaries

Bill Madden

Capitol City Brewing - Sept. 15

Well now, hmm. Today's thoughts on GABF coming up. I have been reading the other brewers posts and guessing that folks might be interested in what we are bringing and why. We have three participating breweries under the Capitol City Brewing Company mast. All are participating separately. I asked each brewer to come up with what they wanted to send. I should explain that I am the broad interpretation of a ... cringe ... "corporate" brewer for Capitol City. I still brew regularly, get dirty and all that stuff but I get the fun job of paperwork which makes me long for an assistant brewers job (but not the lower pay scale).

Our brewer in Baltimore, Billy Siebold, has had great success with a coffee flavored brew called Fuel. Simply put, it is an alcoholic euphoria with a caffeine high. He has gained quite a rep in Balto with this one. The other brew he chose was his Dubbel, which is another good rep product in his area and quite a tasty version. Billy chose his beers by what he felt were his best products on a year round seasonal offering instead of our "House Beers" (Capitol Kolsch, Amber Waves Ale, Pale Rider Ale and Prohibition Porter) and I respect him for it.

Our brewer at Capitol Hill, Mike McCarthy, in the District of C. went a little different in his first selection going with a house beer, Capitol Kolsch Ale. Now I have to explain. Mike was our brewer in transition when we were closing the brewery at our original location, Downtown (the restaurant is still open). We needed to get a few entries to GABF last year and worked up a new recipe for Kolsch. Since it was a smaller brewhouse and the hop inventory there did not have Hersbrucker, we broke from our regular recipe (2001 GABF Silver medal) and went with Tettnanger. The recipe was then revised for a 10 Hecto system brewhouse. Low and behold, we managed to get a 2002 GABF Gold medal for that one. Kolsch has a special place with Mike. Mike's other choice was a bold one. Imperial IPA. This is a new category at GABF and he decided to go for it. When making the choice for your entry to a festival that is to be judged its good to know prior winning entries. This is unchartered waters and will be interesting.

Now the beers we chose for my brewery (Arlington, Virginia location).

We went with our past medal winning Kolsch. The Kolsch was a 2001 Silver medal winner and is considered a staple at our brewpubs. It is a style that is very popular in the Mid Atlantic region due in part to CCBC and its original brewer, Martin Virga. Martin was schooled in brewing in Germany and would have brewed all lagers if it were not for the 10 HL system that he had to produce close to 1000 barrels in the first years. His thinking (I believe) was to do German ales, not very popular in 1992 in the great expansion days of the craft beer market. This is our training wheels brew that is the most popular beer style for which all our brewers can brew in their sleep.

The Kolsch is made with 100% German ingrediants except for the water. There is pils malt and a good percentage of wheat malt and the signature hop is now Tettnanger. The yeast is imported from Germany specifically to brew this beer only. We try to lager (mature) the Kolsch for as long as we can (but not less than a month). This is a beer style that I have worked on for years getting right.

I just looked up to discover I have a meeting in 15 min., I will get back tomorrow with the rest of our entries....

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