On 15th August, I flew to Estonia. I flew to Estonia because our friends from (more or less) Tallinn based brewery Tanker invited us to their inaugural lager festival. To make the most of it, we thought we should probably brew a collaborative beer as well, so we did. In all honestly though, the main reason for the visit was to sit in the sauna that they have built within the office of their new brewery.
First things first though, the beer. Tanker’s flagship beer is Sauna Session. We first tried this beer when they came to London in 2018 for a collaboration and tasting night with us in Bermondsey. We were quite taken aback by this truly unique beer. The beer uses a “tea” made from steeping Estonian birch leaves in water over night and using that for around half of the brewing liquor. All the flavour comes from this inventive method and absolutely no hops are used. The beer really stuck with us, so we thought it would be a fantastic idea to use this method to brew a kettle sour. As it was such a fantastic idea, we put it into action. Most of the action was done by a computer. Their brewery is rather flash. This allowed me to work my way through their full range of cans and exert absolutely no effort.
The following day was Saturday. Saturday was the day of the festival. A celebration of lager is something that we as a brewery fully endorse. Not least because Paul Anspach’s brewing idols, Schlenkerla, were in attendance. Sadly Paul was not. We were exhibiting the three lager conditioned beers that we have brewed in 2019 - The Spunded Lager, The Lemon Drop Lagered Berliner Weisse & The Rauchwein. The Rauchwein is a beer we’re particularly proud of. Using only one grain - rauch malt - the beer was then boiled for nine hours and lager conditioned for four weeks. Essentially it is a lager conditioned smoked barleywine. It was however The Lemon Drop that got the most attention. It being the only sour beer available on a truly tropical Estonian day.
The following day, the good folks from Tanker fed us heartily with barbecued foods and we ploughed through copious amounts of leftover Shlenkerla and Maisel & Friend Helles. I also bonded in the sauna with Jaanis from Tanker and Marton from Budapest’s Mad Scientist. Having a sauna in your brewery really should be mandatory.
Add to this some promising potential contacts into the Finnish beer market and the outcome was an extremely successful and absolutely enjoyable trip.