Clementine Kolsch, Kegs & Eggs and My Brew Day at Resurgence Brewing Company
Every homebrewer has a dream — to brew their recipe on a professional system. And I got just that opportunity thanks to the many great folks at Resurgence Brewing Company in Buffalo, NY. Thank you to Jeff Ware, Dave Collins, Nick Torlgalski and the entire team at Resurgence!
One of the great things about Resurgence Brewing Company is that they are constantly experimenting with new recipes, new ingredients and new ideas. And ideas don’t just come from the brewers. They come from bar room employees, customers and sometimes friends like me. Innovation is built into the fabric of the company. “We like all of our employees to have knowledge of the brew process, not just our brewers. So when a patron comes in, we can all talk knowledgeably about the brewing ingredients, process and equipment,” explains Jeff.
Resurgence Brewing’s innovation process is built around a 26 gallon pilot system and a popular event called Kegs & Eggs.
The pilot system goes back to the early days of the brewery when they used to brew next door in the kitchen of Rich Products. “Before we were even open and the finishing touches were being put on this space, we perfected the recipe for our Sponge Candy Stout on this system,” says Jeff, “now we use it to brew our experimental beers. It’s often the only time I get to brew these days.”
So, here’s how it works. All Resurgence employees — both front of house and brew house — are broken into four teams. Each team works with the head brewer to develop a recipe, which is then brewed on the pilot system. All employees participate in all parts of the process. Beers are then served alongside other experimental beers at the Kegs & Eggs event. Patrons receive an entire flight of beer and are able to vote on their favorites. Popular beers are often re-brewed and the most popular beers are scaled to the brewhouse system, sometimes becoming regulars in the rotation. So, for aspiring brewers like me, to brew with Resurgence is an opportunity of a lifetime.
How did it all go down?
The first step in the process was to select a recipe. The one we chose was my ever popular St. Clementine Ale, a cross between a wheat beer and a kolsch that was finished with the juice of clementines. I met with Jeff to discuss the recipe, what I was going for and what adjustments Resurgence might make to put their stamp on the recipe. Ultimately, we used the base recipe, modifying the grain bill slightly and choosing a different hop to better complement the citrus characteristic of the clementines. As a seasoned homebrewer, this was possibly the most exciting part of the process — understanding how professional brewers view ingredients, their various characteristics and how they come together to make a great beer.
On brew day, I arrived at the brewery early. It was a bit chilly and there was a yoga class in the bar room. I met Jeff and Nick, an understudy to the head brewer.
The three of us reviewed the recipe, checked the ingredients and mashed in. Nick was great, explaining every step and why their process was the way it was. I got to stir the mash, add the hops, whirlpool and talk shop, but for the most part Nick led the brewing process. We also got to sample several upcoming releases. The peanut butter porter was fabulous! My wife sat by patiently while Jeff, Nick and I swapped brewing and cooking stories. For her, it wasn’t a whole lot different than me brewing in my kitchen (sorry Pol). And, if you ever run into Jeff in the bar room, ask him about his days following his grandfather around on the chili cook-off circuit in an old van. You may never eat Hormel again.
You may ask when one might be able to sample this and other fabulous brews. It is coming up this Sunday, March 5th. Doors open at noon. On tap you will find:
- 4 Staff collaboration beers with a chance to vote for your favorite
- Blueberry Pancake Ale
- Brett IPA collaboration beer in partnership with Block Three Brewing
- Clementine Kolsch collaboration beer in partnership with Gordon Street Brewing
- Nicks English Strong with Brett
- Lemon wheat
- Chai Tea Cream Ale
- Jazmine Double IPA
- Cherry Rye IPA
- And several more tbd
See you Sunday!