Monday, August 24, 2009

Hop Project #21 : Return of the Fresh Hop!

SCORE! My friend Darren Gamache, the ONLY grower who has Amarillo hops, just called me from Yakima in Washington state - the hop harvest is well underway, earlier than last year, and they are about to start harvesting Amarillo hops this weekend. "Would you be interested in about 200 lbs of fresh wet hops this year, Linus?" he asked. "HELL YEAH!" I said. So the next Hop Project we brew, sometime early next week, will be hopped with 200 lbs of fresh, wet Amarillo hops!

Last year we only made 600 gallons and didn't bottle any. We'll be brewing 1200 gallons this year and bottling about 250 cases of it. I can't wait! I still have vivid dreams about that beer from last year. OK, they might be more like drug-induced flashbacks from all the hops, but I'm still looking forward to brewing it next week. Look for the Fresh Hop tour hitting your local taproom soon!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Just got a list of all the breweries at the Great American Beer Festival this year. There used to be a brewery called "Zuma" down in Atlanta, but they are no more. So that makes us the last brewery in the list again! (Alphabetically...)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Amazing stat...

The Brewer's Association just released mid-year numbers, and the results are encouraging for the over 1500 small brewers in the country. Dollar sales of the craft beer segment were up 9%, and volume was up 5%. All this in a difficult economy and with the big three - oops, sorry, it's the big two now - suffering declining market share. I think it is a testament to how beer drinker's tastes are changing.

But one graph they included in their press release really caught my eye. It is a graph of the number of breweries operating in the U.S. over the past 100 years. In the early 1900's, before prohibition, there were over 1500 breweries operating. Most of these were small regional breweries - in fact, there were no national breweries, and most of the beer people drank came from their local breweries.

Now, after close to 100 years, and the great experiments of Prohibition, and even worse, Light Beer, the U.S. is host to over 1500 breweries once again.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Sue" Release Party and Pint Night

Join brewmaster Linus Hall at 12th South Taproom on Wednesday, August 19th, starting at 6:30 PM, for the release party for Yazoo Brewing's first high-alc beer, "Sue", a deliciously smoked porter brewed with cherry-wood smoked malts.
For every pint of Sue you purchase, you'll get to keep the nifty Yazoo pub glass the beer came in. If you missed this beer at the Music City Brewers Fest, you'll want to catch this event. "Sue" was one of the most requested beers at our tent that night, surprising even us! And since we can't legally serve it at our own Taproom (got to love Tennesse laws), you'll want to try this one while you can.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Progress on the new brewery

We're making progress at the new place. The new trench drains are set, and we'll soon be pouring a new concrete slab in the brewery to handle the load of all the tanks. After that, we'll be installing the new sprinkler system (yay! more money!) and then we can start moving tanks inside. Meanwhile, we'll be fixing the old storefront windows and working on the new taproom.

Yazoo Cash for Clunkers

Meet the newest addition to the Yazoo fleet - a pretty much stock 1956 Ford F100. I had a 1954 F100 when I was in high school, and have always regretted selling it when I went to college. If you look at our Pale Ale label, you can see Lila's rendition of that old truck. We had a lot of fun in that old truck, and I have been on the look out for one for years. I saw it on the side of the road in Ardmore, Alabama, and after a little cash for a clunker changed hands, I drove it back to Nashville. We're going to get it fixed up into a daily driver, paint it and christen it with some Yazoo signage and some old kegs in the back, and then take it around to different events in Nashville.

Yazoo Sue tap locations...

Check back to this post often if you want to see where you can try our Yazoo Sue, a cherry-wood smoked porter weighing in at about 7.5% abv:

8/13 going on tap at Broadway Brewhouse, in midtown near Vanderbilt
8/14 should be going on tap at 12th South Taproom soon, hopefully today

Hop Project #19 out in bottles!

Hop Project #19 was bottled the 2nd week of August, look for the notches on the left side of the label. For this batch, we decided to use a lot more late-addition hops to mellow out the bitterness while getting a lot of flavor and aroma. We used Columbus for first wort, Cascade and Amarillo at 30 minutes left in the boil, and Zeus and Galena at 5 minutes left. We then dry-hopped it at day 4 in the fermenter with Cascade and Zeus.

The aroma from this one just won't sit still. It erupts out of the bottle and glass as you pour it in. You should have smelled the brewery as we bottled this batch, just simply amazing. The bitterness is clean, juicy, and leaves a nice lingering citrus zing across your teeth. A nice toasted caramel body tries to maintain balance, but hey, it's an IPA and the hops won't be denied.
Good news for hopheads in Alabam - we got label approval finally and will be shipping some kegs and bottles down in the next few weeks. If you loved the beer in the mysterious red Pleasure Chest at the last two Magic City Brewfests, you'll be happy to see Hop Project #19!
And finally, some Hop Project FAQ, answered:

1. What the heck is Hop Project?

- back before the Great Hop Crisis of 2007, we had a killer IPA recipe that we were ready to launch. Then we couldn't get the hops we needed to brew it. So we shelved that idea, but kept experimenting with the small quanitities of different hops that we could get our hands on, and putting the beer on tap in our Yazoo Taproom to get feedback from our regulars there. We noticed that the idea of changing up the hops was a big hit, and that people never got bored with the beer. Even if they had a favorite batch, they loved trying the newest one and seeing how the different hops played out across their enamel. So we decided to go ahead and launch our continuously-changing IPA, and call it "Hop Project". We change up the hop recipe for every batch, but keep the grain bill the same.

2. How can I tell which batch I'm drinking?

- Check the side of the label on the bottle. It will have the month and week the beer was bottled. Then just check back here to our blog, and scroll down to the posting for the Hop Project for that month.

3. Why couldn't you just mark the label with what batch number it is?

- Very good question! As usual, if there is a simple way to do it, the ATF will prohibit it. We initially submitted a label that told the story of Hop Project and stated that every batch was different. The ATF would not allow that, saying that we were misleading the consumer, and that if every batch was indeed different, we would have to submit a new label for approval for EVERY BATCH. That's right, by telling the customer that every batch was different, we were misleading the customer into thinking that every batch was the same. So we couldn't do anything on the label to indicate a certain batch number or anything. I know, it doesn't make sense. But those be the hoops, and we jumped through them.

4. Is Hop Project going to be a year-round beer?

- We probably will run out of hops this year. But we're working on securing enough next year to offer it year-round.
5. Where can I get a four-pack of Hop Project?

It's now carried in many mid-Tenn Krogers, and in Harris-Teeters, as well as many of your usual suspects for craft beer, like Midtown Beverage, Frugal Macdoogals, Woody's in Cool Springs, etc. Once great place to go is Whole Foods in Green Hills. Not only do they support the heck out of us with our bottles, but they also will fill you up a growler of Yazoo from the draft tower in the deli. Call ahead to Whole Foods to see which of our beers they have on tap, or just go and be pleasantly suprised. Believe me, it's a fun experience to see a growler of Yazoo being scanned at the checkout counter!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Congrats to our Great American Beer Fest winners!

We drew the lucky name this weekend, and we'd like to say Congratulations to Laura Brandon of Murfreesboro! She and her husband won a trip for two to Denver, including airfare and hotel, plus passes to all four sessions of the Great American Beer Fest! She was one of the thousands who registered the past month at Nashville Sounds games at Greer Stadium. Congrats Laura! You're going to have a great time!