Last summer we introduced a new recipe that started out as a collaboration with Anarchy Brewing Company in Durango. Anarchy was just getting their first year under their belt and we had been working on various recipes together as well as solving some of the birth pangs of a new brewery start-up. Due to the limitations of Anarchy’s grass roots beginnings (something we are very familiar with at MBC!), they were not able to do cold fermented lagers. Fortunately for us, we had just acquired a 600 gallon dairy tank specifically for doing more lager recipes and would be installing a second in the Fall. We were getting set to put more emphasis and production space into these slow and cold fermenting beers.
Right before this I had found myself in a bit of a fix when I realized my lager yeast strain needed to be retired and I had a series of lager recipes coming up on the brew docket. So I headed over to the very generous folks at Ska Brewing Company and picked up a keg of their Mexican Lager yeast strain. It was similar enough to the Pilsen yeast I had been using for years and it would save me the week it would take to build up another culture. Right from the start the yeast showed signs that it could get the work done of eating up the sugars a little quicker and would clear out of the beer sooner, leaving a brite sparkling beer. At the same time it had no perceptible differences in flavor from the Pilsen yeast. Soon after this I found that Cellar Science, our main supplier for dry yeast, was introducing their own version of a Mexican Lager strain called Baja. I was sold! This was going to be the new standard for our light lagers.
To celebrate the arrival of the new lagering fermentation tank and the new yeast strain, a new beer was in order! I had recently started playing with some of the new hops that were cultivated near Taos, New Mexico. These hops have a very unique flavor profile, unlike other North American hops.
We had not used flaked corn in a recipe before. Plenty of rye and even rice recipes, but never corn. Well it was time to change that. Something I did have some experience with, but had not used in a while, is agave syrup. I knew right away the sweet taste of agave would add the right amount of body and flavor I wanted with the pilsen malt base and flaked corn. At this point all the basic components were on the table, now we had to decide the portions and process to achieve the desired profile.
The first time we brewed the beer with Matt from Anarchy we knew we were on to something awesome! Immediately the beer was a hit, both on our taps as well as at Anarchy. We made some minor tweeks on our second run and then upscaled to a full size batch for the third run. By this time we knew we had a new main stay House Beer that would be served year round for the foreseeable future and be featured extensively at Mesa Verde National Park!
Only thing left to do was come up with a label for the cans. For this we relied on our good friend Stephanie Smith who did our VuDu Amber Lager and Fly Free artworks, as well as several other labels. She captured our vision with her first draft. After making a couple changes to suit the artistic ambitions of Stephanie and the focus of our marketing, we settled on what you now see on the can. Enjoy!