The Beer is Here: 2016 Member Homebrew Challenge

Kyle Schmidt stole our mouth-hearts with his Pale Lager featuring Hallertau Blanc Hops at our probably-annual Member Homebrew Challenge in July.  The barley has been malted, the grain has been mashed, the beer has been brewed and it’s ready to drink.

Now Pouring: Keller Blanc Pale Lager, designed by member-owner Kyle Schmidt.

Keller Blanc

Bold, hop-forward, and well-balanced with malt. Pineapple, gooseberry, white-grape & lemongrass flavors give it a unique tropical profile. You’ll want another. 5.5% ABV, 30 IBU.

Kyle has been drinking Fair State since Day 1 and has been a Co-op Member-Owner since 2016 (#627).  He developed his passion for beer in 2011 when his then-future wife gifted him a homebrewing starter kit.  It was a fast, exciting time in the midst of a rapid resurgence of Minnesota breweries and Kyle caught the fever.  He became a Certified Cicerone in November 2012, which allowed him to forego his teaching job for a position with the Better Beer Society and then Badger Hill Brewing.  Kyle currently lives in Richfield and works as the Assistant General Manager at Northern Brewer – Minneapolis.

How did you get involved with Fair State?Homebrew Winner
Kyle: I’ve been drinking Fair State beer since day 1!  Simply put, Fair State focuses on executing the types of beer that I always strive to have in my fridge: lagers, session-strength hop-forward beers, farmhouse styles, and mixed culture.  While supporters from the beginning, my wife and I were inspired to become member-owners in 2016 because we’ve always loved the atmosphere and strong, welcoming community at the FSBC taproom.  It’s our favorite place to unwind with a couple of pints and bump into friends.  Of course, Aki’s pretzels don’t hurt either! 

How would you describe your Keller Blanc?
Kyle: It’s a beer that is hop-forward (on the edge of bold) without being aggressive or bitter.  The Hallertau Blanc hop is a newer German variety that combines some of the delicacy of traditional noble-type hops with the big flavor profile of next-generation IPA-type varieties.  It’s difficult to work with in the brewhouse because it can get harsh very quickly in the boil kettle, but the challenge of making this beer was in highlighting the pineapple, gooseberry, white-grape and lemongrass flavors that give it a unique tropical profile.  There’s just enough malt presence there to balance it all out and make you want another.

What led you to choosing that beer style?
Kyle: I’ve always been a huge fan of pale German-style lagers.  When done right, I believe they represent the epitome of what approachable, sessionable, and easy-drinking craft beer can be.  These styles are important in a craft landscape often dominated by the bold and aggressive flavors of IPAs and mixed-culture fermentations.  I also love that as a brewer there’s nothing to hide behind.  These beers feature simple ingredient bills so your process and technique have to be spot on the do them well or people will know.  One of my favorite things about FSBC is their embrace of these craft lager styles and the reputation they’ve earned for doing them so well.  

Kyle Schmidt

What was your experience like working on a larger scale
Kyle: The brewhouse at FSBC is not a sexy one, to be sure!  Certainly no button tapping on iPads or computers, just a lot of running around the old-fashioned way.  I’ve always told people the best way to brew is to be two steps ahead of whatever is next, and Niko and Caleb run a tight ship that demonstrates just what that looks like if you want to find success day in and day out.  We were fortunate in that the recipe scaled well and could work within the established parameters of FSBC’s lager processes, but we certainly enjoyed bringing a couple of new ingredients into the brewhouse for this beer.

There’s a lot to live up to when a new beer hits the taproom at FSBC!  I’m just hopeful that it’s well received and worthy of the tap line, and maybe even good enough to make again!

Many thanks to all of the Member-Owners that participated in the first of our probably-annual Homebrew Challenge.  We hope the process was rewarding and we thoroughly enjoyed tasting the products of your hard work.

Pouring pints of Kyle Schmidt’s Keller Blanc Pale Lager at 4pm on Thursday, October 13.  Come get yourself a taste.

If brewing your beer with Niko & the Fair State team sounds like something you’d be into, become a Member-Owner and get ready for our next Homebrewer Challenge. Before you know it, we could be pouring pints of your recipe in the Taproom.

Brew it. Drink it. Share it. #HappyOurs

Home Brew Challenge