I was recently fortunate enough to be invited to collaborate on a beer with everybody's favorite scrappy nano: The 5 Paddles! Ontario's original nano! I had met most of the Paddles several years ago when the brewery was just a glimmer in their eyes, back in homebrew days, but my relationship with the particular Paddle I was collaborating with goes back much further, all thanks to this man:
I met Keir in the first year of University, where we both were starting a fine arts degree. We became friends and did lots of fun things together, like hosting our first art show! (Instead of wine, we provided a fine selection of "40's" of malt liquor.) We both graduated, despite the combined presence of NBA JAM and Professor Michael Farrell's (truly excellent, but exceedingly challenging) art history courses. We've remained pals since, and when Keir began dating Erin, we all partied most hardy.
Years later, when Keir and Erin decided to get married, I was honored to be given the role of "Best Man" at their wedding!
Several years after that, I had begun working as a brewer, and was homebrewing very often, which is how I probably ended up bringing a keg of homebrew to Erin and Keir's place for a party!
My memory is a little fuzzy, but if I recall correctly, this was the second batch of a hoppy American Stout- which turned out quite nicely! The memory on the photos metadata is somewhat sharper, and this was sometime in 2011. Actually it was May 14th. Which was a Saturday. At 6:12:05 PM. Or thereabouts.
I only bring this up to point out that we might actually know the precise time Erin Broadfoot became a brewer! You may not be aware of this, but brewing is a communicable illness. This illness has symptoms that include classic signs of obsessive behavior, which may manifest themselves as weekends lost to reclusive habits, the collecting of books and magazines, owning two or more fridges, bank accounts completely drained in an irrational pursuit of "saving money on beer", and basements completely filled with hoarded stuff, et cetera. It can be transmitted via beer pints, perhaps with as little as one single pint of excellent homebrew. (Patient zero has been lost to history, as it predates written language, but was probably a tipsy nomad who was infected by some soggy barley, left out in a bowl that got filled with rain and then became all fermented. "Oh no- my barley!" They probably yelled, but then hunger drove them to drink the strange brew, and, once infected, they actively spread an outbreak of obsessive behavior that may have resulted in all civilization.)
Anyway, the above photo was taken when the keg was tapped, and Erin surely had a pint shortly thereafter. So we can safely estimate that Erin Broadfoot became a brewer on May 14th 2011, at 6:13 PM. And I can take the credit! Uh, you're welcome? I guess? I just have to warn you to watch out for those advanced stages, when you begin to seek out homebrewing events....
Oh jeeze, I guess I'm not helping much there. Well, just so long as you don't leave your current career to work in the craft brewing industry...
Welp! Nothing for it now but to brew some beer together!!!
After some back-and-forth, we decided to brew something new from the 2015 BJCP guidelines. A Trappist Single! And since collaboration brews are really an excuse for brewers to get together and meet and mingle with other brewers, we decided to call it "Trappist Mingle"!
According the the new 2015 BJCP style guidelines, a Trappist Single is
"A pale, bitter, highly attenuated and well carbonated Trappist ale, showing a fruity-spicy Trappist yeast character, a spicy-floral hop profile, and a soft, supportive grainy-sweet malt palate ... Often not labeled or available outside the monastery, or infrequently brewed. Might also be called monk’s beer or Brother’s beer. Highly attenuated, generally 85% or higher. While Trappist breweries have a tradition of brewing a lower-strength beer as a monk’s daily ration, the bitter, pale beer this style describes is a relatively modern invention reflecting current tastes."
They go on to say that light, spicy, yeast-driven phenolics are found in the best examples, while yeast-derived bubblegum notes are inappropriate. That's good, because just before the brew day, the Belgian strain that we were planning to use was discovered dead. Gone to heaven. As a result, we resorted to using a fairly spicy Saison strain, that I just happened to have ready for harvest.
We had a great brew day! It was very cool to see their nano system in action.
The beer is due out very shortly! I am as excited to try Trappist Mingle as anyone, but in the meantime, I'll be celebrating our collaboration with a little mismatched beer and glassware: