Free Assembly

• • • Innovation Award • • •


For decades IPA has reigned supreme over the industry as we know it, but with energy costs increasing by the day, so too are professional breweries’ appreciation for styles and ingredients with environmentally and, by extension, financially friendly properties. Being cost effective and energy efficient without compromising on the bold and full-bodied beers characteristic of craft, do styles like kölsch and yeasts like kveik hold the potential to shape the movement’s future?

Free Assembly’s Voss Boss pays homage to the region and ancient traditions that kveik yeast hails from, and in doing so celebrates our ability to look back and learn through a return to brewing’s roots. In its original iteration, kveik survived and was celebrated because of how well it took to being dried, and remaining dormant in colder temperatures. This allowed it to be passed down through generations of Norwegian home-brewers dating back as far as 1621. 

Historically, this farmhouse yeast would be used a couple of times a year, and preserved between brews on a kveik ring; a wooden structure that would be dipped in beer as it was being brewed and then hung to dry, with the yeast clinging to the ring going into hibernation until it was next dipped in warm wort to be reactivated. 

Speaking to Beer52’s own Head of Production, Carlos de la Barra, about what makes the use of this ancient yeast so innovative in the modern world, he tells me that because kveik ferments at such a high temperature (between 30 and 40ºC, which is almost double the normal fermentation temperature) breweries without access to advanced cooling technology can make a brilliant example of this beer without cost or compromise. 

Further to this, kveik can produce ready to drink beer in a much shorter period of time than your standard IPA; it’s hard to believe Voss Boss’s full body and stone-fruit forward flavour came together in just eight days including fermentation and dry hopping. The use of this yeast makes for a neat trick, but is also a potential game-changer for breweries concerned about their energy use, whether for environmental or financial reasons. 

Being a cuckoo brewery, Free Assembly is especially conscious of the footprint it leaves behind, and in this instance extends its thanks to 71 Brewing in Dundee for sharing its facilities so this innovative beer could be brought to you. 

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