Sometimes inspiration for a beer comes not from a “eureka” moment but from a situation that presents itself. When we were presented with the opportunity to purchase a rare and refined French Oak vessel known as a “foudre” that had been used for storing the famous apple brandy, Calvados, we jumped at the chance! What to do with it, exactly, could wait. The first step was to secure that foudre and get it from Normandy, France to Stratford, Connecticut!
So a beer with apple brandy character? Why the hell not? By the time the Calvados foudre arrived we had hatched a plan to create Calva. We brewed a neutral, wheat based brew in a steel tank using our house ale yeast from Two Roads. After this, we transferred the beer to the waiting (soon to be former) Calvados foudre and began its transformation into a completely different beer. The slow, churning motion of the fermentation would help extract the maximum amount of Calvados and oak character while slightly increasing the alcohol content. Once it was completed, we added a “wild” yeast culture, Brettanomyces Clausenii, known more informally as “Brett C.” Brett C works very slowly over months to break down some of the complex sugars that typical brewing yeasts (genus: Saccharomyces) cannot ferment. The result of a Brett C fermentation can be inviting, fruity aromas and flavors – notably pineapple and general tropical fruits. Brett yeast also contributes a hard-to-define complexity generally referred to as “funk” for lack of specific descriptors. After 9 months in “the wood,” as winemakers say, Calva was loaded with the most pleasant Brett C characteristics and ready to package. Two months of re-fermentation in the bottles and kegs later and Calva was finally ready to drink!
The resulting brew bears little resemblance to the simple, neutral wheat based beer from whence it came. Calva exhibits a pleasant and inviting apple character followed by subtle notes of brandy, wood and fruity undertones and light funk from the long, slow fermentation with Brett C. Truly one-of-a-kind!
Note: limited bottles and draft available of this one-time-only beer.
Area Two Gives Unique Second Life To Apple Brandy Foudre