Grimm Artisanal Ales Makes a Business of One-Off Brews
Sipping Grimm Artisanal Ales' From the Hip Belgian Blonde, made with organic, hand-seeded rosehips is a good reminder that summer isn't quite over yet; the hazy golden-hued ale pairs well with a muggy Brooklyn afternoon. But just like the season, this brew's heyday is winding down. Like all of the beers Joe and Lauren Grimm plan to brew, From the Hip was a "one-off, limited edition, seasonal beer," and if it's not already gone, the stock dried up in the few days since we consumed it, it won't be long before it's not available anymore.
Starting on September 17, you'll be able to try Grimm's next one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated, seasonally appropriate batch, Bees in the Trappe Biere de Miel, which will be unveiled at Ditmas Park's Sycamore Bar & Flowershop and sold, like every other Grimm beer, for just a month. Made with three hundred pounds of New York wildflower honey, the pale orange ale boasts a tart apricot flavor and a light body, "rendering it," according to the Grimms (and we'd have to concur), "dangerously drinkable."
Unlike the larger local breweries, Grimm isn't looking to produce an everyman's beer to be sold all over the country. Joe and Lauren would rather make small truly unique draft batches, perfected in their Gowanus basement and available for only short stretches of time, than mass-produce the same beers over and over again in a brewery of their own. This partly explains how they became "nomadic brewers," experimenting with recipes at home before scaling up at nearby host breweries, where they make only twenty barrels of each month's beer. (This also saves the pair the approximately one million dollars it would take to open a brewery of their own.)
The Grimms, who met at the School of Art Institute of Chicago eight years ago and just celebrated their second anniversary, are artists first and brewers second. (Both are musicians and Lauren is also a visual artist.) And the attention to detail that this engenders shows through every aspect of their business, from the beers' subtle and layered flavors to their punny names and hand-drawn labels. The company's understated website is also worth a gander. Says Joe, "We're only making weird things."
Plenty of brewers find their inspiration in ingredients like malted barley and hops, but Joe and Lauren find their inspiration in one of beer's other critical components: yeast. "What we're interested in as brewers is fermentation," Joe says. "For us, the really magical part is the transformation of flavors." The upcoming Bier de Miel is a perfect example: The fermentation process has a "paradoxical effect on the flavor of the beer," turning the honey from sweet to dry as the sugars become alcohol.
Though Grimm sources its yeast from as far away as Belgium and Scotland, Lauren and Joe still appreciate the benefits of keeping things local. Their October brew, Going Awry Rye Abbey Ale, is made from a rye grown at an upstate New York farm and malted only 15 miles away. (Most breweries source their malt from one of the few large malt houses in the U.S. and Canada, making the local version a bit of a delicacy.)
Look for that sometime in the middle of next month, and look for the Grimms at the Brooklyn Pour craft beer festival in Fort Greene on October 12.
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