You may know; the seasons are caused by a tilt in the Earth's axis. In summer, in northern climes, the North Pole tilts towards the sun and we see very much more than 12 hours of daylight. Indeed, at this time of year it barely goes dark. This means that the extra energy from the extended sunlight warms the atmospheres, and more slowly the oceans, and we get good weather. Well, at least sometimes.
When it gets warm, and we get a period of dry weather, like right now, people get thirsty. We like this as it means people drink more beer. Nice, pale, refreshing, tasty, cold and perhaps fizzy beer.
Digressing slightly, and talking about yeast, unadventurous brewers often tend to stick with one strain of yeast. In particular the big brewers can get quite shirty if it is suggested they brew with say a wheat beer yeast, or even more radical, a wild yeast like Brettanomyces. You see, contamination of the house yeast can cause all sorts of nightmare problems for brewers who need absolute consistency for their precious brands.
Little brewers can afford to play around a bit more. That's what we do. We currently use 3 yeast strains to get the desired effect. At least, it was three.
The French for season is saison. A Saison style beer is one that uses a particular type of yeast that creates interesting fruity and spicy flavours. Additionally the beer tends to be a little hazy as the yeast is a bit stubborn at flocing.
Traditionally it is made in the winter months where this type of yeast prefers the lower temperatures of fermentation but is then saved for the summer months when it is absolutely delicious drunk in the warm summer weather.
We made a Saison and called it Axial Tilt. It's going to be a warm weekend. It's also Boot Beer Festival at our old haunt, The Woolpack Inn. We've got a keg bar there for the weekend and we're launching Axial Tilt, on keg, all cold, fizzy and everything.
And now, our yeast management has been further complicated with a total of four yeast strains used in our production. That's good really, I like complicated.
Tonight we're doing a food and beer matched dinner. It'll incorporate nearly a full range of Hardknott beers, including Axial Tilt.