Big Al’s brewing is an interesting operation. They’re a smaller place, and they brew two rather non-standard “flagship” beers: An Irish Red, and what they call an “abbey wheat.”
The Abbey Wheat is billed as a combination of a wheat beer (they’re probably thinking of American Hef, just based on my sample tonight) and a Belgian ale (they’re probably thinking of a Lambic, again based on my sample). Their site has all the details on this brew — easily enough for a homebrewer to clone it. Malt content, hops, OG, even yeast. Pretty cool.
The Palace Kitchen had this on tap tonight, and let me tell you it is something else. It has the initial bite of a light, run-of-the-mill lambic (not anything special), with the spice, mouthfeel, smoothness, and slight citrus taste of a good American hefeweizen. It finishes incredibly clean, cleaner than certain common American pilsners, which is very unusual for any sour beer if my experience is the judge. I’d highly recommend it if you can find a bit of it to try.
They also have something else that I believe I mentioned in the podcast we recorded a couple days ago (which Tom has yet to edit… get on that, buddy!). They have a kind of “contest,” wherein they solicit beers from homebrewers, and every 3 months, they scale up a batch of that beer and distribute it to whoever they can. They’re like a contract brewer that you have to submit an application for, and who brews your beer for free. I’ve no idea about compensation.
Neat little outfit. I love learning more about the beer world.