By James Ewen, Co-Owner & Head Brewer
Hard seltzer, that crystal clear, effervescent beverage, has seen a major spike in popularity these last couple years as beer drinkers and wine lovers alike are realizing just how refreshing and flavorful it can be. As patio season is in full swing in the middle of another Minnesota summer, we thought it was about time Wooden Hill got in on the fun by putting our own spin on the sparkling liquid.
Traditional methods dictate that when making hard seltzer there are two ways to go about it - of course, I’m using the word “traditional” very loosely here since hard seltzer can trace its origins only a few decades back to the clear craze of the 80s and 90s.
Those two methods are:
1) Mix sugar and water, add yeast and let it ferment.
2) Water down a high proof neutral spirit and carbonate.
Luckily, there is a third lesser known option, because the second method is not legal for a production brewery to create, and the first method (which can be used successfully in the industry) results in a hard seltzer that can take a lot of trial and error to perfect as it has a slight flavor from the yeast and is often difficult to clarify.
For the third option we turned to ABV Technology, a St. Paul company that engineered a unique solution. In fact, their method is so ingenious, it sounds like science fiction. Their team invented a new technology called thermodynamic filtering, which is able to separate alcohol from the flavor and color of beer. The process operates at low temperatures and pressures to remain gentle to the beverage. Because the filtering process leaves behind only alcohol and water, the resulting hard seltzer is gluten-removed.
The keen reader may be wondering, what happens to the flavor and color of the beer? Great question. It can be used to make excellent non-alcoholic beer. Trust me, we’ll be getting to that soon as well...
After months of planning, we’re happy to announce that a full production batch of hard seltzer is now on tap at Wooden Hill. We think it’s best experienced on the rocks with a lime wedge, or in one of our new seltzer cocktails. Summer may not last forever, but we’ll keep the seltzer pouring for year-round refreshment.