It’s Friday, time for a good beer to chill before the weekend—and wash away the nasty aftertaste of two ridiculous political conventions. (God
help us if that’s the best we can do to air our political views.)
But I digress … back to good beer, such as you’ll find on tap at Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse. The microbrewery just tapped the second beer in its Chef Collaboration series and dubbed it Galangal Action.
If you know their beers — and especially if you know the four owners — you know every ATG beer name is a pun, and usually darn funny. So to get this one, say the name slowly, syllable by syllable.
This beer’s chef collaborator was Levon Wallace, a home brewer and Thai food fan better known as the executive chef at Proof on Main. When asked to contribute his flavor ideas to a limited run beer, Wallace said galangal root, watermelon and kaffir lime leaves — common comestibles in Thai cuisine.
In beer. Yes, indeedy.
Those flavors surprised ATG brewmaster and partner, Jerry Gnagy, but he said he loved the challenge of working with them.
“I didn’t see those coming. I’d have never known about galangal root were it not for him,” said Gnagy. “That’s a pretty wide range of flavors, but they’re complimentary between sweet and tart.”
The Kölsch-style beer was made from pilsner malt, spelt and torrified wheat, galangal root and kaffir lime leaves. During its second fermentation, the juice of watermelons—harvested from the farm of Proof’s owners, of course—was added.
Wondering whether the watermelon addition might over-sweeten it, Wallace said his fears didn’t materialize.
“It’s a very crisp, dry and refreshing brew,” Wallace said. “I know, because I had quite a bit of it last night.”
Asked to compare the experience of making beer at home and in a commercial brewery, Wallace said it went far beyond doing the same thing on a larger scale.
“I’m so used to the ‘set it and forget it’ method of making the beer, fermenting it and drinking it,” he said. “There was so much more thought put into this, much more modification throughout the process. I was worried about it, but Jerry clearly knew what he was doing. He’s pretty damn brilliant.”
Still wondering you want watermelon juice in your beer? Wallace said don’t think pucker-sour Jolly Rancher candy flavors, think more along the lines of watermelon rind.
“Get sweet out of your mind; it’s not like that at all,” he said. “It adds kind of a cucumber flavor.”
All Chefs Collaboration beers are small runs lasting only about a month on ATG’s taps, so plan to get yours soon if you want it.
Oh, and for all the beer geeks out there, some data: ABV: 4.8%, OG: 12 Plato, IBUs: 20.