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Have a Beer with…Brian Barrows, Home Brewers’ Match-Up Champion

On Tuesday June 12, six of DC’s best homebrewers squared off in Meridian Pint’s Home Brewers’ Match Up Final Showdown, which pitted the winners of six qualifying competitions against one another for the chance to have their recipes brewed by DC Brau. In the end, Brian Barrows and Mike Reinitz came out on top.

Brian Barrows is no newcomer to the DC homebrewing universe. He is a constant fixture at DC Homebrewers meetings as well as educational homebrew events throughout the city. He helped lead DC’s 2011 “Learn to Homebrew Day” event at Meridian Pint. By the end of the summer Brian will be able to say he brewed his beer at DC Brau.

HomeBrewFinalHis first-place entry, Patersbier, or father’s beer, is a Belgian-style single, a beer low in alcohol but high in complexity. Also sometimes referred to as table beer. Lightly bittered with one hop variety, Styrian Golding, the beer was had 17 IBUs. This noble hop shows up in a wide variety of beers, and you might know it from your favorite Belgian tripel, farmhouse ale, ESB, or Barleywine. Pilsner and CaraPils malts were used to create the grist and the beer was fermented with White Lab’s WLP 500, a Trappist yeast strain. This yeast is well known in the homebrewing community for producing a wide array of Belgian and Trappist ales. The beer started at a gravity of 1.040 and dropped to 1.010 when it was all said and done.

Brian’s winning title pays homage to monks who brew a beer of low alcohol content to compliment the daily vows of hard work, prayer, and silence. The simple notion of  “patersbier” is a testament to the belief that this beer should beer consumed on site (typically within monastery walls). Trappist Monks believe that with hard work should come a nourishing, light in alcohol, high in delectability, drink. “Commercial” examples include Petite Orval and Chimay Dorée.

Patersbier is usually lighter in alcohol than a Belgian pale and is a style very infrequently enjoyed in the states. The style is typically brewed for consumption on-site, often within the monastery walls. So how can you get your hands on some Trappist patersbier? Typically this requires travel to the monastery or a café  near the monastery (see picture # 8). So what’s a homebrewer to do? Why, brew their own, of course! Soon DC will have it’s own commercial example based off of an American homebrewed representation of the style.

It is great to see another session beer turned out by DC Brau. With Ground Wolf, Burial at Sea, and now Brian’s homebrewed creation, DC has turned out some truly unique session ales. No name has been decided on for the beer as of yet, but the brewing will occur in early July. Stay posted for as soon as we have the name, brew date, and ingredients we will post all of them here. Cheers to sessioning Brian’s Patersbier!

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