Behind The Scenes of the Pipeworks x L&E Brown & Stirred
It’s kind of a love story, really.
Pipeworks Brewing Company , a Chicago specializing in small batch beers, meets Longman & Eagle. Longman, a restaurant/inn/bar known for their healthy whiskey selection, is delighted upon the introduction.
The rest is best presented as a story, as all good beer collaborations should be.
So we now present: The Tale of Brown & Stirred.
Beejay Oslon and Garritt Lewis, founders of Pipework’s Brewing Co, met while working at West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago. There were both homebrewers who received their education at De Struise Brewery in Belgium. When they began discussing starting their own larger scale brewery, they decided they wanted to do something exciting. They vowed to only create unique, small batch brews that were “one-and-done.” This is where the idea of Pipework’s Brewing began.
It’s early June in Chicago. Summer is just starting to become real, temperatures ever so slowly rising above 60 degrees.
Pipeworks approaches Phil Olson (Bar Manager, Longman & Eagle) about brewing a collaboration beer. Phil has always been a fan of Pipeworks beer, but is hesitant to carry it with concern the small brewery could not appease Longman’s volume. This is the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
They present a well-thought out plan surrounding a cocktail inspired beer. Phil is impressed: “Man, you came to the table with an idea that makes sense to both of us,” he says.
When seeking inspiration, the Old Fashion is what comes to mind first, but it’s been done before. It is decided that the Manhattan, sweet yet bitter and full of bite, would translate much better. Now, it’s time to put brilliant ideas into action.
It’s June 23rd – brew day.
The Longman players include: Phil, Eric Abert (Asst. Bar Manager), Chad Hauge (Principle Bartender) and Pete Toalson (Partner), Cody Hudson (Partner)
Pipeworks team consists of: Beejay Oslon (Founder, Head Brewer), Scott Coffman (Lead Brewer), Kate Brankin (Brewer).
Scott presents the recipe: a Manhattan Inspired Strong Rye Ale.
The day begins with mashing in, or soaking the grains in water to release malt sugars. This being a Rye based beer, the grain work is plentiful. Team Longman is dedicated to getting down and dirty with Team Pipeworks.
As the mash period comes to an end and the beer is being moved to the beer kettle, Kate and Chad start on the bittering teas. This is to represent the Angostura bitters part of the cocktail. Angelica, Quassia, Cinchona, and Gentian are the roots used in this process. The tea is to be added later.
Once in the brew kettle, a balancing dose of Old World bittering hops are added. For this style of beer, an immense amount of hops is unnecessary. However, a hefty dose of bittering lemon peel is needed to represent the Manhattan garnish.
As this is taking place, Beejay and Cody Hudson (Partner), are discussing the label design. The artwork is a Hudson original: a bottle of beer and a Manhattan personified, playfully high fiving.
The mash is finished boiling – it’s time to clean out the mash tun and shovel more grains. After the beer cools, it is transferred to the fermenter and the yeast is pitched. This is where everything that previously happened is turned into alcohol.
Now, it’s waiting time. Team Pipeworks-Longman celebrate brew day with shots of bourbon. The Pipeworks crew entices the Longman boys into taking extra big shots. They do work in a whiskey bar, after all.
A name is decided upon: Brown & Stirred.
During this brewery visit, Eric and Kate take on a very important task: adding in the fresh cherry puree. This represents the obvious cherry part of a Manhattan. Adding it in at this point and not earlier assures the most intense amount of fresh cherry possible.
This brings us to the final installment of our beer journey. The aforementioned bittering teas are added into the beer.
On this visit, Eric brings along Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Punt è Mes, Angostura and Cherry Bitters. This being all he needs to complete a Longman Manhattan, he whips a few up for reference. After comparing sips, it’s agreed that the mission is a successful one.
The beer is then moved into the bright tank, where it is left to mature.
To prep the beer for consumption, it is carbonated and kegged, as well as bottled and packaged. Coming in at 10.5%, it’s a beer to be enjoyed – not slammed.
Longman released the beer on August 7Th, both on draft and in bottle. The beer is presented over ice in an Old Fashion glass. A garnish of lemon peel makes the beer as true to the original brain child as possible.
The brewery and the restaurant part ways – the end of a Brown & Stirred affair. While the story has come to an end, it will forever live on in the fruits of their labor. Enjoyed by the public if only for a short time, it is certain to leave a long lasting effect.
As an encore, half of the produced Brown & Stirred was is placed into Rittenhouse Rye barrels for aging. This was done without bitters and cherries, which will be added during the final states for optimum flavor.
The plan is to age the beer in barrels for six months. It will be tasted every so often to make sure it is aging correctly.
“We don’t want to put something out that’s not ready,” says Phil. “But then again, if it tastes like its ready even earlier, that’s great, too.”
Ideally, the release of the barrel aged Brown & Stirred would correlate with the five year anniversary of Longman & Eagle. Great 5th birthday present, dontcha think?
Brown & Stirred is available at Longman & Eagle for a short amount of time. It’s all gone on draft, but you can still purchase the beer in 22oz large format bottle.
written by Sarah O’Niell
photos: Clayton Hauck