I don’t think that in the nearly 4 years that Tombstone Brewing has been in operation that I’ve been as excited about any release as I am about the beers we have coming up. We’ve been brewing lagers sporadically ever since we opened, but we haven’t brewed them nearly as often as I’d like to until we recently started doing some experimentation with fermentation in our lagering tanks (which are normally only used for conditioning beer post-fermentation). Utilizing those tanks in a new way has allowed us crank foamers much more frequently than we were before without impacting our normal production schedule. In addition to getting to brew lagers more frequently, it’s allowed us to experiment with new techniques that I think have been very successful and have resulted in several of my favorite beers to come out of Tombstone. The upcoming trio of lagers consists of a very traditional Bavarian style Helles, our first ever Lite Lager, and Beer for Connoisseurs; our attempt at recreating the original Michelob as it was brewed in 1896 as historically accurately as possible. All 3 of these beers used a private collection yeast strain, fermented at very low temperatures under pressure, and feature natural carbonation to create a distinctively crisp mouthfeel.
Helles Dorado was perhaps the most fun beer for me to brew in years as it got me thinking about my time spent at the Doemens Academy learning from some of the best German brewers in the city that is so well known for Helles. One thing that has stood out to me ever since my time studying in Munich is that it’s very rare that I find a Helles in America that really captures all of the subtleties that make the Bavarian examples so enjoyable. Even the imported Helles from great Bavarian breweries is rarely fresh enough by the time we get to buy it in the USA to experience the full depth of malty, grainy flavors that you find on tap throughout Munich. I had to wonder why those flavors would be missing in American brewed examples. It struck me that the German malts that we get in the USA are rarely used in Germany. While maltsters like Weyermann make malts of exceptional quality, I never saw a German brewer that used Weyermann themselves. So for this beer, I decided to get my hands on malts from another German maltster that is used by many German brewers and is a little more difficult to find in the USA and I couldn’t be happier with the results. This Helles retained all of the grainy barley flavor, has a little bit of rich, breadiness, and the softest mouthfeel. 100% natural carbonation from spunding and fermenting under pressure at a very cool temperature gives a huge, fluffy head with the finest bubbles possible.
Tombstone Lite is our first venture into the world of Lite American Lager. While many people might think of lite beers as lacking in flavor, I think that’s an attribute to embrace rather than scoff at. Sometimes, the situation arises when a lite lager is the perfect beer to quench thirst or for a long session of drinking with friends. Our version of this style flaked maize to help keep the beer very pale and light bodied. The extra soft water profile keeps the flavor very neutral and at 4.2% ABV and 4 IBU, there hasn’t been a beer to come out of Tombstone that is more crushable than this.
Beer for Connoisseurs is the beer we set out to brew when we had to change course due to yeast propagation delays when Covid hit and we released Dreher’s Original Bohemian Lager. Beer for Connoisseurs uses the same US grown Moravian barley malt and Czech Saaz hops, but the yeast strain that would have been used in Michelob rather than the yeast strain that Anton Dreher would have used in his Bohemain brewery. Tasting it now, it has all of the attributes that I loved in Dreher’s (elevated level of bitterness, floral and earthy hop flavor, rounded Pils malt flavor, very soft feel) and combines it with even better drinkability and crispness.
All 3 lagers will be canned on Monday and by Tuesday, we will have 3 more hazy IPA’s (More Hops, Citra IPA, and an AZ Beer House DIPA Collab) available in the taproom!