Get ready for some big Brooklyn beer news: KelSo is launching a canned beer line. Known for easy-drinking and innovative brews, the small husband-and-wife operation is taking new form as beers goes beyond the tap and into the can. We caught up with Kelly Taylor, head brewer and co-owner, to learn more about what KelSo of Brooklyn has in store in the coming months.
So what’s new?
We’ve got cans coming out–our pilsner, brown lager, and an IPA. The pilsner cans will be available around Halloween, and lager and IPA in November. They will be coming to your corner bodega soon.
Are you canning in the brewery?
We’re using a mobile canning line. This guy has a canning line on his truck. He fills up a bunch of beers for you and leaves. It’s perfect for the urban environment where you don’t have the space for a bottling line or the empty cans. We ship him the cans, and then he brings the cans down, only the amount he can fill. It’s pretty big on the West coast with smaller breweries that don’t have the money or time to commit to a full-on canning operation.
What about your other brews?
We have our winter lager coming out starting in November. At Brooklyn Pour we’re going to have our Oktoberfest and Imperial Pumpkin. We have a lot of barrel-aged stuff coming out that’s been sitting from four to eight months: stouts, scotch ales, red ales in whiskey barrels. Rum barrels hold our brown lager.
What does aging do to the beer?
Typically it softens the beer a little bit and lends a little oakiness, or the flavor of whatever was aged in there before. The first time you use a barrel it assaults you with the flavor, and then the second or third use you start to get more of the woody, coconuty flavor. It’s more oxidized. It softens the hops and malt character.
We have soured some of the aging beers too. One time, the beer started to turn, and now we’ll let those go for a year and hit it with brettanomyces, a cultured wild yeast. It adds a barnyardy, horsey flavor, at first a little disgusting but then over six to eight months gets kind of earthy.
We’ve been putting beers in the barrel then culturing the barrel. We’ll have IPAs and saison in these sour barrels, and we brewed a lambic exclusively for the sour barrels. We’re putting them away for a year then adding fruit to them, so the lambic will be one to two to three years old by the time we get them out of the barrels.
We have an IPA coming out of whiskey barrels, a saison that was in brandy barrels with brettanomyces. I think we have 25 barrels.
Do you ever create something you’re not happy with?
I think one of them we just threw away. We sample them periodically, and we’ll go through and see how the barrels change all the time, and every once in awhile it gets weird in a not good way. It doesn’t have the structure to the weirdness. If it’s just sour, it’s no good. That’s just not right. I don’t want to put a beer out just because the beer is drinkable. And I bounce off of Sonya too. Better just to not do it. Though that having been said, we reserve the right to use that as blend. If we just take that sour IPA and throw it into the industrial IPA then all of sudden you’ve got that tang and depth and something completely unique and engaging to the palate.
So where can people find these funkier brews?
We’ll be putting those out in bars and restaurants like Mission Dolores, Blind Tiger, and Spuyten Duyvil. We don’t really have a schedule, they just come out and they go.
Come to Brooklyn Pour, October 12th, to get a taste of KelSo’s new Oktroberfest and Imperial Pumpkin.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 3, 2013