The Brewery vs. the Power Outage

My favorite local brewery, Port City, found a clever way to make lemons into lemonade. Or, more precisely, a power outage into a new beer.

When last month’s freak storm, El Deracho, left the brewery and much of Alexandria without power for five days, the owners worried they would lose 13,000 gallons of beer. When the power switched back on, they found that five of the six tanks were fine. However, beer in the sixth had fermented at a higher temperature than intended.

Not ones to let a bad storm ruin good beer, brewery founder Bill Butcher took inspiration from Kiuchi, a Japanese brewery that which had reworked one of its beers into a special edition brew after equipment was damaged in the earthquake and tsunami.  Butcher wrote this in his letter on topic:

Five of our six tanks appear to be just fine. The 6thtank is a 60-barrel batch of lager beer that fermented at a higher temperature than we intended.

There is a beer style that developed in San Francisco called steam beer, or California Common beer. It is a beer made with lager yeast and fermented at higher temperatures like an ale. This is exactly what happened to this 60-barrel tank of our beer. As a result, this storm has given us Derecho Common beer.

The Derecho Common will be out in August. Port City isn’t bottling the beer. Rumor has it that it’s only being sold in kegs to local restaurants and bars affected by the power outage.  So check out Del Ray and Old Town establishments soon for the brew.

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