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Spotlight: Lavery Brewing

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Co-owner and brewmaster Jason Lavery gives us a snapshot of his ephemeral beers: Be warned, they’re only here for the season, and next year, they might not be the same.

Conventional wisdom suggests a new business—whether brewery, bakery or biotech company—should settle on a flagship product, then promote the hell out of it. Jason Lavery, who co-owns Erie, Pennsylvania’s Lavery Brewing with his wife, Nicole, disagrees. “People told us we had to stick to one style, but would a painter stick to one color?” From the wintry Belfast Black, a rich, malty ale with hints of bacony smoke, to Liopard Oir, a French-style saison available from April through August, the flavors of Lavery’s seven seasonal beers mark the time of year—and for him, they keep the days from rolling into one another: “If you brew the same brews over and over, you get bored,” he says. This year he’ll augment his seasonals with remixed sour versions. That Belfast Black? “We’ll omit the smoked malt and age it in our barrels with the dregs from some of our favorite sour beers,” he notes. And then, with perfect timing, he jokes, “We’ll see how many good beers I can ruin.”

SPRING: Liopard Oir

“This is our spring seasonal fermented with French saison yeast and bottled with Brettanomyces. We wanted to brew a beer the way a farmer would have hundreds of years ago. You get a little tartness and must, and some great fruitiness with bracing bitterness and Brett flavor.”

SUMMER: Imperial French Ale

“It’s 11.5%-ABV, and hoppedwith the four American ‘C’ hops: Columbus, Chinook, Centennial and Cascade. It’s also fermented with French saison yeast, so it’s kind of a blend of a double IPA and French IPA.”

AUTUMN: Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale

“We wanted to make it a beer, first and foremost. It’s about 7.5% ABV and fermented dry with a restrained spice profile of classic cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and clove. It’s a simple malt bill and has a restrained hoppiness. We put a decent amount of pumpkin in the mash, which adds a slight nuttiness.”

EARLY WINTER: Belfast Black

“This smoked porter inspired the whole brewery. It’s malty, and has a lot of Scottish chocolate malts for a nice chocolate and coffee flavor. We use Northern Brewer hops for their woodsy, minty flavors. The German smoked malts give a restrained smoked flavor that goes really well with the dark chocolaty malts; some people think it tastes like bacon.”

LATE WINTER: Devil Bird

“This winter seasonal changes every year. This year, it’s an imperial porter aged in fresh bourbon barrels. Maybe next year we’ll do a golden barleywine with just pale malt and New Zealand hops. Maybe we’ll age it in neutral oak barrels and pitch it with Brett.”

 


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