One of my favorite parts of brewing are the new beer releases. I love experimenting with new styles and providing customers fresh and interesting new beers. I also love naming the beers - check out 841 Brewing on UnTappd for a sample of our labeling endeavors. Most of our beer names have a personal connection to the owners or to the brewery (ask us about Autoignition IPA sometime).
But the downside of not being in the beer distribution game is that we don't get to send out amazing can labels into the world. So in lieu of a label, we will strive to release our brands via social media; and for the really special beers, there may be some limited edition swag.
Now let me introduce you to our newest beer, a Belgian Tripel, “Modern Day Monk”. We brewed a similar tripel fairly early in our home brewing days, and I was so pleased with the result that I decided Autumn Arch needed an amazing Belgian Tripel in the line up.
In preparation for a home brew day, I would typically spend weeks researching and fine tuning a beer recipe before the brew day arrived, and the first Belgian Tripel we tackled was no different, except for one thing - the yeast.
I intended to pick up the Trappist Ale yeast (WLP500), a solid go-to yeast strain for this style...however, as I was picking up my ingredients the night before the brew day, I discovered that the Trappist was out of stock! Luckily, HDYB holds a variety of different strains, and my interest was piqued by a fresh package of the Bastogne yeast.
At this point, I should probably say that I am a sucker for marketing; I make a lot of beer purchases based on label designs and names, and this mindset applies to beer ingredients too. Let’s be honest - the cover definitely does matter.
The Bastogne yeast just ‘sounded’ cool, and it happened to fit the style I was targeting. I purchased the yeast and went on to brew an amazing golden and spicy tripel. The Modern Day Monk is based on our original recipe (we learned one or two things over the years since that brew and honed the recipe appropriately :)
I decided to name this beer the “Modern Day Monk”, inspired by the badass monk from the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer describes the monk as rebellious, ignoring rules as needed, and basically living life as he damn well pleases. As my brother and I were beginning the journey towards creating a brewery, I felt there were a few parallels to this mindset.
For starters, Tripels were historically brewed by monks in Belgium , so that part of the name is self-explanatory.
We planned this brewery to stand out from the usual trends in our area...one large open taproom, beer garden style table seating, full view of the brewing equipment, plenty of daylight and fresh air from the giant doors, a substantial sour beer program, owners without the ability to grow beards...the list goes on. For our region, this type of brewery vibe is not very common...one could say we are ignoring the rules (especially the part about brewers having beards).
Launching a new venture is also taking a step towards owning our own future. We are branching out from the comfort zone of working for large corporations; with the brewery, we fully own success and failure (and gladly so).
With all of this in mind, the Canterbury Tales monk seemed like a perfect fit for the namesake of this beer...but considering we are living in the 21st century, he needed a modern twist.