Colin from Hen House Brewing is our guest on Brew Ha Ha with Herlinda Heras and Harry Duke today. Hen House is one of the organizers of the June 25 Freshtival, which is a Hen House production to showcase freshness. Tickets are going fast. They will be bringing in about 160 different fresh beers from 80 or more brewers. No beer served on June 25 will be more than a week old. There will be breweries from as far away as Portland and San Diego.
Herlinda asks Colin to explain what makes a beer fresh. Colin talks about how people know instinctively that fresh food is better and that food that is left out will rot, smell bad and not be appetizing. The same is true of beer. The basic principle applies to beer as to any food. Colin explains that the big factor is oxygen, which in beer oxidizes the hop compounds in the beer.
Colin has brought some beer, one house IPA and another called Language Creates Reality, which use special hops. Those hops have to be fresh and they have to mitigate the factors that accelerate oxidation, mainly time and temperature. The reason why they like to use cans instead of glass is that is keeps light off the beer. They also have to control the temperature of the beer. They even require their distributors and retailers to keep the beer cold.
The ingredients for beer are much more shelf-stable than the beer is. Hops, if packaged and stored correctly, can be held for two years. This unlike the wine world, where after picking grapes, they have to press them and begin the winemaking process as soon as possible. Colin tells about the effort they make to get their beer to their customers as soon as possible. They now try to have their beer be no more than 7 days in cans or kegs. They also ask them to keep it cold at all times.
Hen House has locations in Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Fairfax. They just opened Fairfax this week. They have a burger with a dry-aged beef burger. Fairfax is a fun town because it’s at the crossroads of many North Bay destinations. They took over the Iron Springs location and they had live music. First they need to get their bearings with the brewery and they plan to add music soon.