One of the big reasons we wanted to start our blog (except for announcing an opening!) was to give ourselves a forum to introduce and talk about our beers. So over a series of posts, I’m going to discuss our different beers and tell you all about what went into creating them. One of the things you won’t find too much of in these posts is what to expect when you enjoy them. We really want each of you to enjoy the beers on your own terms, and to have your own experience with each! And with that, I’ll begin by talking about our first and my personal favorite, Libertas!
Libertas is Open Door’s love letter to craft beer in America. While there is a long list of Americanized styles out there, there are only a few truly American beer styles (Serious Eats has a great little explanation of a lot of these styles and their history). For many years, we’ve done a fun little homebrew competition with the Colorado Rapids supporters group C38, and this beer evolved out of that. At the that time I was also falling in love with session beers, and that’s when I decided that a Cream Ale was the beer I wanted to brew.
The Cream Ale really came about when German immigrants tried to replicate their fantastic lagers in warming climates over here. Given my family’s German background, I’ve got to imagine that Great Grandpa Riedel is looking down and smiling somewhere!
From the first brew of Libertas, my whole goal was to create my interpretation of the most American beer I could. I thought that in a lot of ways, it represented all aspects of beer in America. It was a popular style before Prohibition, it has a common German heritage with the American Light Lager, and we pull some nowadays IPA tricks in brewing ours. I like the fact that it embraces the full history of beer in the States.
For the grain bill, we went with a mix of 2-Row and German Pilsner as our base. Cream Ales typically use quite a bit of adjuncts and ours is no different. We use a healthy dose of flaked corn and for our little twist, flaked rye. For me, rye is a unique ingredient that adds an interesting element (think American rye whiskey).
For our hops we use both Liberty and Columbus. This is not only symbolic in name, but for me really plays with some of the qualities of Libertas. Liberty hops are a descendant of the Noble Hallertau hop, which is one of my absolute favorites to work with. With its German heritage fitting right in and and an interesting spice, it goes well with our rye addition. You probably recognise Columbus hops from their use in West Coast IPAs. They have a great citrus aroma which goes well with the citrus we get from fermenting our lager strain at higher temperatures. We wanted to take an approach that was more in line with Cream Ales before prohibition, and thus the higher alpha acids composition used late (sort of hop bursting!) gave a great blend of old and new!
The name Libertas comes from the Roman Goddess of Liberty. We figured that the embodiment of Liberty was the perfect way to celebrate our attempt to make the most American beer we could! For our label we tried to pull in this great symbolism and hopefully express this concept.
Our desire for Libertas was that it be sessionable while still being craft. We worked hard to make a beer that was complex, but still still a great go-to. From the ODBC crew, we hope you love it just as much as we do!