Thursday, March 28, 2013

Urban Legend Brewing and BeerDogging.com Team Up on Smoked Pilsner

Considering they're in the middle of building a brewery right now, you'd think Tim Hoerman and Doug Stoffer wouldn't have time for much else. You'd be wrong. The brewers of Urban Legend Brewing aren't waiting around for tank installations and grand openings to begin working on their beer. Instead, they've been giving their homebrew setup a few final test batches before upgrading to their Westmont microbrewery.

Ready for the cold grip of a spring lagering. 
But even once the beer starts flowing this summer from their production brewery and tasting room, Urban Legend sees a long future ahead of the fully electric and wonderfully technical homebrew system in Tim's basement. He plans to put it to use as a pilot system for the brewery some day.

Until then, its main job is test batches and, on this March evening, a final step in a collaborative beer between Urban Legend and the guys behind Beerdogging.com.

For the unfamiliar, the Beerdogging gang includes a group of craft beer evangelists dispersed around the Chicago area. Members include: Pippy, Hass, T-Dub, T-Bone, Bill, The Pope, The Great Uncle, and the Negotiator. On this night, I met the Negotiator, Don Di Brita.

After checking out the brewery site, right in the middle of plumbing installation during my visit, we headed over to Tim's laboratory. From the hand-crafted cigar box stir plate to the automated and remote-controlled brewing system, this brewing system's second largest product is homebrewer envy.

Tim Hoerman corks the Urban Legend Brewing/Beerdogging.com collaboration.
Tonight's task involved racking the collaborative, yet-to-be-named smoked pilsner to Tim's newest toy, a five gallon stainless cask. Along the way, we sampled not only the pilsner, but also several other Urban Legend batches, including an interesting amber ale and a sessionable porter.

While the brewers sanitized and made the transfer, the Negotiator kept his camera rolling. Part of the collaboration includes a documentary video put together by Beerdogging about Urban Legend's nearly complete journey. But as unique as it is, the smoked pilsner collaboration is only one chapter of the story. The brewery itself taking shape this spring is the next. And the beers that the brewers have been honing all this time will fill out the story this summer, although really it will just be beginning.


And sometime in between, a cask will be tapped to celebrate.