Bacon and beer - two great tastes that taste great together? We'll find out soon enough.
On Sunday Six Row Brewing Company announced on their blog that they're making a limited run of their Robust Porter infused with a specially-smoked slab of bacon from Baumann's Fine Meats. It's named, of course, Porker Porter. They'll tap the cask at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 2.
Gut Check caught up with Six Row COO and head brewer Evan Hiatt to find out more about their porcine potion.
Gut Check: What gave you the idea to do Porker Porter?
Evan Hiatt: I am trying to recall how exactly we decided on it. Of course it was after a couple shift-pints; our assistant brewer (a.k.a. press release writer), Joe Esser, and I were talking about making a beer unlike any other, mainly ways to alter our cask ale offering, something that we showcase the first Thursday of every month and at special occasions like last week's National Craft Beer Week and our "Whale of a Time" festival we held at out location this past Saturday. We were jokingly naming different ingredients and flavor combinations, but after bacon came up, we paused and thought about it more, thinking it would be a nice combination with our Robust Porter which already has nice dry roast, smoky and caramel flavors.
Have you tried other bacon beers?
Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to try a bacon-infused beer. How are you making the beer?
As brewers, we visualize how a beer is going to look, smell, taste, etc., mainly by numbers before doing a test batch. In this case, we were fortunate enough to make friends with Jim and Ann Lucas at Baumann's Fine Meats. Jim slowly smoked a special batch of his bacon to perfection, and I am very optimistic about the turnout considering the quality of product that comes out of there. Unlike other cask ales, instead of dry-hopping in the cask we will be adding bacon; infusing the smoky, sweet, flavors into the beer. I anticipate something akin to a traditional rauchbier. Who developed the technique for making this infusion?
After doing some research we found a great reference in Brew Your Own (BYO) magazine by Brad Ring who puts a spotlight on Oren Combs, former brewer and general manager at San Juan Brewing Co. in Friday Harbor, Washington who originally took the idea to a commercial level. In our case, we are having fun trying new techniques and flavor combinations with beer and will continue to do so as long as people are interested. This would certainly be a perk of the job and this particular industry.