Posts tagged Beers by Bill
Beers by Bill: Dooley's Belated Porter
Switchback Brewing Company Dooley's Belated Porter

I can still remember the day I walked up to Chris Dooley as he was cleaning parts at the sink to ask him what kind of beer he’d like to make next. As our first employee Dooley got to choose. He wanted to make a porter, and happily we both agreed to use Deschutes Black Butte Porter as our gold standard for what a porter can be. Switchback’s porter is on the hoppy side, being a 100% Simcoe beer. Little did we know at the time how popular Simcoe would become for IPAs. We just liked using this hop in our Ale and wanted to exploit its aroma qualities for the porter. But with a big malt backbone and the unusual use of flaked barley, the beer drinks with a smooth balance.

Not having enough brewing capacity to keep up with Ale sales, the beer development had quite a few delays. In fact, by the time we were ready to do a full blown release of our porter it had been five years since Dooley and I had first talked about it. Which is how our fanciful name “Dooley’s Belated Porter” came about. It is important to note that Dooley himself is still alive and kicking. Only the porter was belated.

Bill Cherry
Brewery Owner/Brewmaster

Beers by Bill: LEM
Switchback Brewing Company Extra Pale Ale

LEM (affectionately named after its striking resemblance to the Lunar Excursion Module) gives us incredible flexibility in how we utilize hops. It is built for both whole cone or pelletized hops. We have been currently working with whole cone hops in our Extra Pale Ale. We devised a system of using hops in their natural whole cone form so that we could extract an obscene amount of aroma and flavor without the huge bitterness that would normally accompany them if using pellets. With the XPA being a sessionable 4.8% alcohol beer, the huge bitterness would overwhelm the lighter malt body. Our use of whole cone hops allows us to “steep” the hops for just a moment before separating them from the wort. This pulls only the volatile flavors and aromas out, because the bitter compounds take extended contact. LEM is a device we concocted that gives us the ability for an ultra-late hopping, whereby we pass the hot wort through the whole cone hops on its way to the cooling unit. This means the glorious, but volatile, aromas and flavors are captured because the wort is cooled within seconds of passing through the hops.

As if that’s not enough, LEM also allows us to dry hop with pelletized hops. Through a reversed flow system, LEM will swirl and hydrate the hops so they can be recirculated into the finished beer. At Switchback our beer is naturally carbonated by the yeast. As a result, all of our beer is under pressure, which means we cannot just open a port and pour dry hops in. With LEM we recirculate the hop slurry into the tank while under pressure. The recirculation is highly efficient at maximizing hop/beer contact for exceptional dry hop character. Being able to do this under pressure means we can continue to carbonate our beer completely naturally.