It all started off with the simple aim of designing and brewing world class beer! First we designed the logo in house. Then we designed our own pilot brewing tanks, had them manufactured under licence and got them plated up with our name and logo. Next came our own label design, not leaving out building this website from scratch. Finally we got to the really exciting part - beer design and brewing!
The term ‘bright beer’ means beer in which yeast is no longer in suspension. The effects of yeast are wonderfully complex, on the one hand producing alcohol and unique flavours in primary fermentation, whilst carbonating beer and mopping up destructive oxygen from the atmosphere during and after secondary fermentation. Further complex reactions take place between yeast and maturing beer during secondary fermentation, but beyond this period there can be downsides. In the best case, yeast can be very bitter to drink when it is mixed in with served beer on account of its adhesion to hop debris, and in the worst case, it can break down or ‘autolyse’ through heat and time to impart ‘tangy’ or very unpleasant eggy (sulphidic) notes. Beers suffering from these problems are referred to as ‘yeast bitten’. With the exception of German wheat beer, where largely non-sedimenting yeast strains are deliberately left in the final beer, it’s usual to remove or leave yeast behind before it gets into the hands of the customer. One further exception is that of bottle conditioned beer where tiny amounts of yeast are deliberately allowed to pass into bottle during filling, thus to produce a natural secondary fermentation in bottle. Of course it’s necessary to carefully pour bottle conditioned beer to avoid getting yeast into the glass.
For the beer drinker, the brewer has to do his or her best to preserve depth of character and flavour as finished beer ages. In the UK, the time honoured way has been to sell beer from the cool cellar of the typical British pub. In the early 1970s, the consumer movement CAMRA coined the term 'real ale' to make it easy for consumers to differentiate a style of beer devoid of extensive processing to extend shelf life, as tended to be carried out by the big groups. 'Real ale' is beer which has been taken straight from fermenter or warm conditioning tank and put into cask by gravity (racked), to which a fish preparation called isinglass finings is added. The finings binds to the yeast to form large ‘flocs’ which quickly ‘drop out' or sediment to the bottom of the cask over a 24 hour period. The yeast carries out a secondary fermentation to naturally condition (carbonate) the beer. The final beer is gently run out of tapped casks or pulled off using a hand pull (a beer engine) to leave the sediment or ‘lees’ behind.
The terms ‘lager’ or ‘lagering’, as used on the continent, mean to put beer into cold storage. In Germany it was typical to cut ice in the winter months for keeping beer cool in caves for an ensuing summer. It was also recognised that to keep beer tasting fresh over time, it was best to remove naturally sedimented yeast.
Our logo is an abstract drawing of a typical cellar tank sightglass - the brewer's 'window', allowing him or her to follow the maturation of a developing beer. For the brewer, it is the ultimate treat to take a glass of beer directly from the sample tap (a 'zwickel' in Germany) of a fresh, cold tank of beer after fermentation and conditioning (lagering in Germany). This is when enough yeast and hop debris have sedimented out to prevent the beer from tasting overly bitter. The resulting beer has the most vibrant and deliciously fresh hop character, further enhanced through natural carbonation and maturation, created by yeast as it chews on remaining sugars left over from the primary fermentation.
The advantage of the cellar tank is that yeast can be encouraged to produce natural carbonation and flavour during maturation, yet it can be removed at the last minute ahead of packaging to produce ‘portable’ beer which does not need to settle and yet is superior in terms of flavour.
'Zwickelbier' is a special style of naturally carbonated 'Kellerbier' and is brewed in Franconia. Lower in strength and typically less bitter, it takes its name from the term 'zwickel', German for a tank's 'sample tap'. Tanks are closed ('gespundet') just before the end of fermentation. This allows natural carbon dioxide to dissolve into the brew. As a result, Zwickelbier, unlike Kellerbier, builds up a creamy effervescence which is released on pouring. While Kellerbier is aged for months, Zwickelbier tends to be served as soon as it is finished fermenting. On account of its low hop rate (with hops acting as a natural preservative) and lower ABV, it tends to be sold locally.