Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Brewery Project: White Labs

Water, malt, hops, and yeast.  Of the basic building blocks of beer, yeast is by far the most important, and what White Labs has been specializing in since 1995.  About a year ago they opened a small, on-site tasting room, which I referenced here, like no other.  With 32 taps and 3 beer engines, their selection is phenomenal.  The difference here is the yeast.  You won't find a huge variety of different beer styles, usually only around 4 to 6.  What you will find is the opportunity to learn about what they do best, the yeast!  Of the limited number of styles they have available at any one time, they will offer several variations of the beer with different yeast strains, giving you the opportunity to better see the role the yeast plays in the final product.  I tried 2 styles, a Hefeweizen and a Red Rye, each with 2 different yeast strains.  I must say that I had a hard time distinguishing the differences in the beers, but they were there.  Perhaps a larger, shared tasting flight would allow the different nuances of each beer to become more evident.  As if that wasn't enough reason for a return trip, the friendly, chatty staff were informative, without making you feel dumb or talked down to.  The beer is important, but so is the atmosphere.  This place hit a home run on all counts, ensuring another visit in the near future.

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