“After a first few brews along the years, I started to brew more seriously, but still as an amateur, in 2010. I had always appreciated smoked beers (I went all the way to Bamberg and back in 2005 just to taste the Aecht Schlenkerla right from the source) and after brewing a smoked amber ale, I brewed a smoked blond ale at the end of August 2013. (40% smoked malt and Strisselpalt hops from Alsace).
At the time I was living near Oberkampf and I was going regularly to the grocery shop of Le Verre Volé. I had brought a few bottles there during fall, including this smoked blond ale. Thomas, who oversaw the grocery shop liked it very much, and assured me he would be a client once the brewery opened – he kept his word and became one of our first clients – and that we should brew this particular beer.
Five years later I received a text: “Hey! So, when are you going to brew this lightly smoked beer we talked about? Do you think it is possible? The memory of the one you brought to me a few years ago came rushing back this morning!”
We talk about it, and Thomas has an idea: smoking the malts with vine stocks. This idea is intriguing and exciting because people usually brew smoked beer with pre-smoked malts, so taking care of this aspect of the process suddenly became a new field of experimentation. Thomas gave us grapevine wood from Xavier Caillard, a rare wine-grower settled in the Loire region, which were later shredded by a kind public gardener near the brewery. After three hours of smoking, it was hard to tell if the malt was smoked enough or if we were just filled up with smoke. But after letting the malt rests for an entire day, it seemed that our objective was complete.
The aim wasn’t to make a “meaty” beer or too strongly smoked, but more a lightly crisp smoke, a beer that you could enjoy without realizing that it was a smoke beer, a beer not too heavy and drinking quite nicely. In the end, the smoke malt accounted only for 25% of the total. After 2 test batches of 20 liters, we decided to make a full brew in Montreuil at the beginning of May.
For the label, Thomas called his friend Max Parsons who took the picture of a vine, and David Rager our graphic designer included it in our usual “Deck & Donohue” frame with a discreet and refined label, without a name.
I am particularly proud of this joint effort with Thomas and Le Verre Volé, it is for projects like this one, based on long term relations and encounters, that our job makes sense. The fact that a place famous for its wine list and its taste choices wants to have its own beer pleases us a lot, and it is even better when the beer has a specific story and particularity!
We hope you’ll take as much pleasure in drinking it as we enjoyed brewing it! You can taste it at Le Verre Volé, rue de Lancry , at the grocery shop of Le Verre Volé, rue de la Folie Méricourt, at our workshop, and also in different cellars and restaurants. You’ll also be able to enjoy it on the 22nd of June at Le Perchoir de l’Est (Allée de l’Est, 75010) !