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To answer that we have to talk a little about The Hollow first.
We started making The Hollow back in 2016. From the outset our goal was to make a pilsner that was “ours” and reflected the place it is made. Naturally, we named it after the small area of Kent where our farm and brewery are located, Kent Hollow. Nestled between the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the upper reaches of the Housatonic River, our brewery is well-hidden amongst the trees right in the very center of “The Hollow” as it is known to locals.
The Hollow is made from Northeastern-grown Endeavor barley and water from our farm’s well. Through a carefully designed mash regiment, fermentation and conditioning process these two focal ingredients are transformed into a light, straw-gold beer, clean and crispy, packed with soft hop aromas that will transport you right alongside our pastures… While we proudly distribute our pilsner across Connecticut, a picnic table alongside our pastures is still the best place to enjoy one.
Not long before making our first batch of The Hollow, we signed a malt contract guaranteeing the purchase of 40,000 lbs of Endeavor barley each year. This was a vital part of mitigating risk for a farmer switching his fields to a variety known for flavor instead of yield. From that point it took nearly two years before we received our first shipment of the crop (growing seed, planting, harvesting, malting). Ever since receiving our first shipment late in the summer of 2018, The Hollow has steadily become our best selling and most consistently produced beers.
A foeder is basically a large wooden tank. Foeders come in all shapes and sizes, some are upright ovals, some are horizontal, some are even shaped like eggs. They can be used like a cast iron pan to impart a seasoned oak or whatever wood the tank is made from into the beer or as a petri dish to inoculate a beer with yeast and bacteria that lives happily within the cells of the wood. They can be purchased after a winery retires them, or ordered new from small companies like Foeder Crafters in Missouri where we acquired ours.
Being made of Missouri White Oak, our tank has a cooling coil built into it which allows to to use it for cold conditioning lagers like Back Pasture, or golden ales like Public without risking “wild” fermentation profiles. We generally let a beer reside in the foeder somewhere between 3 and 5 weeks to impart enough oak and structure to complement the beer without dominating it.
This is all well and good, we could go on to describe the way we use our Foeder and the flavors that come from it for days, but there’s no better way than to see for yourself. So if you have not had a Foeder beer of ours yet, or are just curious what flavors oak can impart in a clean beer like The Hollow, we thought this would be a great way for you to clearly taste the differences and learn for yourself.
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