Brasseurs de Fer
Local homebrewing group to hold charity event and crown an Iron Brewer
By Vanessa DegginsPosted Feb 20, 2013
A local group of craft brewers are putting their talents to work for charity. This weekend, members of Brasseurs a la Maison will hold the Iron Brewer Competition at Tin Roof Brewery to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Area Food Bank. The members were divided into 10 groups and given an ingredient, like cayenne pepper, peaches, jasmine rice and red beans. Similar to the Food Network show Iron Chef, the ingredient has to be noticeable.
The idea for the competition was initially meant to be an internal event, but blossomed into a public charity happening, said club president Blake Winchell.
On Friday, each team will serve up samples of their concoctions to anyone over 21 years old. Admission is any non-perishable food donation.
Winchell said his group’s ingredient was chicory, which is roasted and ground endive root. It can be used as a coffee substitute or additive.
“While looking up the history of the root, we found that it was typically paired with beet sugar which is used a lot in traditional Belgian beers,” Winchell said. “We also made a ‘chicory tea’ to see what kind of flavors we would get.”
The group decided to make a Belgian Stout with chicory added to different parts of the brewing process. According to BeerAdvocate.com, a stout is a beer made with roasted malt or barley, hops and yeast. It is usually a dark beer, but there are some blonde stouts.
Brenton Day and his group drew the sweet potato. He said they started brainstorming around what they considered typical brews with vegetables.
“We started thinking about fall pumpkin seasonals with spices, but then decided to go in a completely different direction and brewed a sweet potato saison,” Day said.
A typical saison is a summer beer, which normally has a fruity aroma and fragrance and features mild to moderate tartness and lots of spice. Day said they started by roasting and peeling 20 pounds of sweet potatoes, mashing and adding most of them to the mash – a mixture of grains, barley and hot water. This steeping process is the beginning of brewing and breaks down starches into sugars. During the boiling process, Day said they added a pound of Steen’s Cane Syrup.
Winchell and Day said they are looking forward to the competition and feedback from citizens and four guest judges, who will crown an Ultimate Iron Brewer.
“Our beer doesn’t scream ‘there is something odd in this beer’ but the chicory flavor is fairly apparent,” Winchell said.
“It’s a funky, farmhouse-style Belgian ale and I’m excited to see how it’s received,” Day said of his saison.
Food trucks will be at the brewery selling food. Tin Roof is located on 1624 Wyoming St. The tasting starts at 6 p.m.