Kveik Yeast: A Norwegian Hazy Gem
There has been a lot of speculation over the last few months about what the next trend in beer is going to be. Some have speculated that the pendulum will swing far from the Haze Craze and next year will be all about either the light and refreshing pilsners or the robust dark barrel aged stouts. The last couple of years we have watched breweries across the country do some truly amazing things with hops. The Haze Craze was built on a mountain of hops, but what if there was another unsung hero waiting in the wings? What if the “next big thing” in beer has been around all along? What if it’s not a hot new hop, but yeast?
The Framgarden strain of the Kveik yeast could be that game changer. We recently sat down with Aaron Gibbs, head brewer at Airways Brewing, who recently used this strain in a collaboration with Chucks Hop Shop. This beer may have it all, the pop of stone fruit, grapefruit and other tropical notes, without the overwhelming mouthfeel of an over-hazed beer.
With a history as rich as the flavor it brews, this yeast goes back to 17th century Norway where it was traditionally used to brew farmhouse ales. Brewers would dip wooden rings containing Kveik yeast into the wort, and store them in the rafters between batches. Since the rings were exposed to air and sanitation in the 1600’s was a bit different than it is today, the rings would also collect various souring bacterias. These rings were used over and over to ferment batches of sour, farmhouse style ales. Though the power of modern technology and science (and other details I don’t really know much about) the strand has recently been isolated, allowing brewers like Gibbs to turn this historically farmhouse strand into an integral part of his new Hazy IPA.
The Chuck’s Nonstop IPA, a collaboration between Airways and Chucks Hop Shop is a throwback to the OG Hazy beers. It has the tropical, aromas, the opaque tan look, a nice full mouthfeel that is not overwhelming. It's got everything that made me fall in love with hazy beers a few years ago. Other breweries around the sound are already catching on. Mirage and Stoup have already brewed with it. It won’t be long before other brewers are knocking on the doors at Sleight Brew Labs to get their hands on it.
If you are looking to get your hands around a pint of this beer, go on down to Airways in Kent or Chucks Hop Shop in Seattle and get yourself the Chuck’s Nonstop IPA.