I headed to Bangor on Tuesday night to check out one of the beer education classes at Nocturnem Draft Haus. Beer 203 is the third class in this series of four and focused on wild yeast cultures. This is the second series of educational classes on beer hosted by Nocturnem, these classes are held on Tuesday evenings, anyone can attend and entry costs $10.
The class is located in the side room at Nocturnem, tables are set up with pens and tasting sheets, at the end of the room is a screen where info being discussed in the class is displayed. The class that I attended was led by Nocturnem General Manager Brian Young.
This particular class appealed to me as it was focused on wild yeast cultures, I’m a big fan of sour beers and was interested to see how the material would be presented. I’ve done a considerable amount of reading about the brewing process, yeast and fermentation over the years, so I had an idea of what to expect, but how would they present the idea of Brettanomyces, lactobacillus and pediococcus to someone who isn’t as well versed in beer? The information provided in this class was very high level, nobody in that class was heading home to plan their next 100% Brett fermentation, but you got a good understanding of some of the more prominent wild yeast strains, learned some lingo, some flavor descriptors and an idea of what flavor and aromas these strains are imparting on the beer.
The class lasted for about an hour, the first half of the class, was a lecture with slides, the second half was tasting. Meat and cheese plates along with a basket of bread were brought to the table, everyone was encouraged to try different items with the beer they were drinking to see how they paired up. We got to try six different beers; each was a 2oz sample or so. Brux Domesticated Wild Ale a Sierra Nevada/Russian River collaboration, Oxbow Barrel Aged FPA, Petrus aged pale, Alvinne Cuvee Freddy, Alvinne wild undressed and Oude Gueuze Tilquin a L’Ancienne were the beers we tried.
I was pretty impressed, the selection of wild ales we got to try was excellent, most of which I’ve had before but for someone who’s trying to learn about beer it was a nice variety of flavors and the tasting plate was nice as well. I don’t try food sampler plates with beer as often as I should, the opportunity to try six different wild ales with cheese, meat, nuts, mustard, house pickled onions and bread was a highlight for me.
Next week is the final class in this series, Eli from Urban Farm Fermentory will be leading the class which will be a real treat, those guys do some crazy fermentations and I’m sure there will be ciders and kombucha tasted.
If you are interested in learning more about beer and you don’t want to go out and buy a bunch of books on tasting and brewing and pairing, or spend a bunch of money on full bottles you might not even like, then check out the Nocturnem Draft Haus beer education series. I really dig the laid back approach; I think I would have done much better in college if I could have been sipping a beer while the teacher lectured me.