Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Harriet Brewing’s West Side release party

Some friends and I hit up Harriet Brewing’s official release party for their first beer, West Side, this past Wednesday night at the Blue Nile up on Franklin Ave. I could definitely tell a difference between West Side and  the growler of “batch one” I’d purchased at my visit to the brewery back on January 29th.

The official first offering from the first brewery to open within Minneapolis city limits in decades hits the tongue as a bit thinner in body and hoppier than the preliminary batch one I’d tried previously. Flavors imparted by the Belgian yeast strain were still quite evident and more challenged for dominance by the hop profile than they were previously in batch one. I could see how the recipe has evolved as Sowards continues to dial in his new brew house. I found one thing odd though: Wednesday’s version of West Side had what appeared to be some chill haze issues.

What is chill haze?
Beer Advocate defines chill haze as “cloudiness caused by precipitation of protein-tannin compound at low temperatures.” As a homebrewer, I know the best thing you can do to combat chill haze is cool your wort down from boiling to yeast pitching temperature as fast as possible. The longer that process takes, the more likely it is your beer will cloud up when you chill it to drinking temperatures. This is something all homebrewers battle against. The good thing about chill haze is that in now way does it affect the flavor of your beer. It’s not something to be completely ignored either, though. Just as with an expensive meal, presentation plays a role in the overall enjoyment of what you’re consuming.

Since the growler of batch one I’d purchased in January did not suffer from chill haze, I’m assuming Sowards was completely aware of this issue in the release version of West Side and that it was bugging him more than anyone else at the release party Wednesday.

Speaking of chill haze, I know it was just above zero outside that night but FUCK it was cold in the Blue Nile. Turn the heat up!!

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