We are thrilled and honored to have been lucky enough to take home the silver medal in the rye beer category at the Great American Beer Festival! Our Rock-Biter Roggenbier is a beer we've always been proud of and it was so exciting to see it honored at GABF! We know that It will probably never be a top seller or rate particularly high on untapped or anything like that. However, it's a style that has nearly all but disappeared but we've always liked it and wanted to do our best to keep it relevant. It's not an IPA. It's not a huge adjunct stout or sexy sour. It is, however, a beautiful beer with it's own unique and enjoyable character. We love the delicate weizen yeast character and almost pumpernickel bread quality. We love how creamy and dense the beer feels. It is unique and beautiful in it's own special way.
When I decided to brew this beer for GABF it is because I really felt that I could do this style much better justice than in the past. I wanted a really delicate and not overwhelming clove and banana quality so I carefully researched my yeast options and found one I thought would be best suited. Then, I upped the rye percentage to around 54% and added loads of other specialty malts to help distinguish the flavors I wanted. Roggenbier is typically pretty cloudy, so I hardly fined the beer at all. I did a ramp up from 128 degrees to about 158 in the mash as well. Brewing this beer is never easy. Rye is notoriously difficult to brew with. Often "gumming" up in the mash tun and sticking. It is a real challenge and that is truly part of the fun for me.
Now that the dust has settled from GABF and I've had time to think a bit I just feel so proud. I'm so proud of what we've been able to accomplish in our little garage "brewery". We don't have any floor drains or bright tanks. Own only a three barrel system. The list goes on and on. We've taken a less than ideal situation and been able to make the best of it. However, it just clarifies and motivates us. We now know that we have to take the leap of faith and expand. We owe it to ourselves. In order to make the best beer that we are capable of, we need to do this. We need to do this the right way. I'm not sure how, this stuff isn't cheap or easy to do but we are more determined than ever now. Huge thanks to all of you who have supported us along the way. Cheers!
Dan and the Hop Dogma Team