As you read this, fermenters across the McMenamins empire are filled with batches of 2014 Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale. In what is certainly no small feat, 1120 pounds of Brewers Gold hops from Sodbuster Farms were delivered to all 22 McMenamins brewing locations yesterday. It took a fleet of eight drivers just under five hours to drop off the fresh hops. From there the brewers went to work.
I had a chance to visit the Concordia Brewery, housed at the Kennedy School, as brewers Dave Kosanke and Matt Carter spent a full day brewing a double batch. Walking into the brewery I was hit with the familiar, but always just as pleasing, aroma of my favorite beverage being made. Coming in pre-sparge of the second batch, it wasn't until Dave opened the bag of fresh hops that I was treated to the bright scent of fresh hops.
During the brewing I had a chance to get a little history on Dave that included finding out he's an IA/MN transplant like me, although he's been calling Oregon home for much longer. He's been with McMenamins since 2001 where he started out as a bartender...a bartender that was also a home brewer. Attending a formal brewing program was something that Dave had looked into but before he got around to making it happen a brewing internship opened up at Edgefield.
In the two and a half years since then he's been working in the "cozy" facility at Concordia that turns out 300 kegs per month. Both Dave and Matt are big fans of lagers, with last year's Doppelbock being one of the favorites created. They would jump at the chance to brew lagers more often, but time and space constraints make turning out ales the majority of their production.
Thundercone will be hitting the tap lines Friday, September 19th. As with all fresh hop beers, it probably won't last long.
Malts: Canada Malting Superior Pilsen Malt, Franco Belges Caramel Munich 40
Hops: Chinook, Fresh Brewer's Gold hops
OG: 1.061 TG: 1.013 ABV: 6.19% IBU: 56 SRM: 7