So, before we opened, I spent hours on end deciding what types of beers that I wanted for my standards. The Pils, the IPA, and the Stout were easy. I knew exactly what I was going for. I really don't like Ambers very much, so I decided on an ESB that would be labelled a Pale Ale; ESBs are a type of Pale Ale and too many people simply don't know what an ESB is. I am really happy with that beer, despite the fact that it's sales are only so-so. The people that love it, LOVE it, and that includes me. The wheat...
Cerro Blanco was my best attempt at making something similar to a Witbier without bringing in a new yeast strain. I hate making pedestrian beers and I tried to avoid that as best as I could while still making something that would appeal to a craft beer newbie. Well, unfortunately, for one reason or another, Cerro Blanco is, and always has been, our slowest seller. What makes this harder to take is the fact that the beer, and really all wheat beers, is best when fresh, and I mean really fresh. I really love it when it's 10 days old. More often than not though, it's taking 2 months to get through one batch. This results in a wheat beer that starts to look more like a pilsner and the beer starts to suffer with age...
Yeast juggling, when you have 6 fermenters and are using 2 yeasts, is a chore to say the least. It takes an enormous amount of planning to make sure that our yeast is staying exceptionally healthy and we are getting a good return on our investment from the lab. Yeast is very expensive, and so, we try to get at least 8 generations out of our lager strain, and 10 out of our ale strain. Adding one more yeast to the mix is simply a horrendous idea from a logistical standpoint.
So what are we doing? We have decided to add a new yeast strain and accept that we will only get one use out of it in the interest of making a more interesting wheat beer offering; one that will sell better/faster, one that will make me feel better about our overall offerings, and one that, for all intents and purposes, will eliminate any "training-wheel" beers from our standard year-round offerings.
We will still brew "Beer" from time to time, as well as some other lighter offerings, but I can say without reservation, that this is a step even further towards making La Cumbre a place for beer geeks. Might as well embrace what you are. We just don't get that many craft beer newbies in here. When we do, hopefully we can convince them to make the jump to something more than a lightly flavored lager or wheat beer.
So Jefe's Hefe will be replacing the Cerro Blanco Wheat as soon as these last few kegs are gone. We are spending over $300/batch simply on yeast. Yet another terrible business decision on my part that would get me fired from my job if I weren't my own boss. Oh well. Hopefully the excitement over the Hefe will make it such a good seller that we can overlook the costs of producing it. As a seasonal, it was, far and away, the most popular beer we have brewed. It will be served in the traditional 23 oz. weizen glass with a big frothy head. Fruit will not be served with it, though your welcome to bring your own in if you like.
To those that truly love the Cerro Blanco, I do apologize. I wish it were more popular and we could keep it on. No matter what beer a brewer ever replaces, there will ALWAYS be those that state their undying love for it. This time it will be the Cerro Blanco drinkers. I do hope Jefe's Hefe will satisfy their desire for a refreshing wheat beer.
As always, I thank you for your support in helping La Cumbre become the beer destination that it now is.