By Eric Chandler
Last year, I caught my first wild steelhead after trying for 10 years. I bought my favorite beer in the world to celebrate: Speckled Ghost by Borealis Fermentery. The beer title is a nickname for rainbow trout, so it was perfect.
The beer has a big lacy head and mild carbonation with fruit flavor up front. It has a honey color and 9.0 percent ABV. I talked to Ken Thiemann, head brewer about this awesome Belgian Style Abbey Ale.
The beer is bottle conditioned and Thiemann passionately described adding yeast and sugar before the bottle is capped. The carbonation develops from this process. He offered two key tips for his bottle conditioned product. First, make sure to store the bottle upright and away from the sun at room temperature. The beer improves as it ages. Chilling it stops the process, so wait until just before serving. Second, when serving, empty the contents in one long pour to avoid stirring up the yeast at the bottom.
Thiemann has 23 years of experience and it shows. For example, he still includes a time-consuming protein rest in the brewing process. He called it “snobby” to insist on placing beer in a category. He clearly just wants to make small batches of good beer. He built his brewery with his own two hands, a lot of the time while on crutches. I happened to call precisely on the fourth birthday of the brewery, so: happy birthday, Borealis Fermentery!
Buy a bottle of Speckled Ghost and enjoy. Make sure to treat it right, just like the wild steelhead that you gently release back into the river.