Ep. 10: I Want To Spray Paint Your Bottle

In Episode 10 of the Operation Shutdown, I welcome special guest Chelsie Markel from Stouts & Stilettos and It’s a Brew Life to discuss design in craft beer, fingerless gloves, a little about Harrisburg Beer Week, and her new blog.


A quick aside about this post… It has a ton of links about the breweries we discuss and I tried to keep them in the order we discussed.

A big thank you to Chelsie for coming on the show. You can follow Chelsie on Twitter @dzyngrl. Also be sure to check out her new blog It’s a Brew Life and read her stuff at Stouts & Stilettos.

What We Were Drinking:

Crooked Stave Wild Sage
Almanac Beer Co. Tropical Platypus
The Alchemist: Focal Banger and The Crusher (Thanks to listener @Brookaveli and Dave for hooking me up with this beer.)

Breweries We Discussed:

Troegs Independant Brewing
Dogfish Head
Flying Dog Brewery (Ralph Steadman)
Highway Manor Brewing (Camp Hill, PA)
Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
Sole Artisan Ales
Roundabout Brewery
Fetish Brewing Company
Maine Beer Company
Russian River Brewing Company
Deschutes Brewing
Stone Brewing Company
Free Will Brewing Co.
Tired Hands
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Otter Creek Brewing Co.
Clown Shoes
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fat Tire)
Appalachian Brewing Company
Golden Avalanche Brewery (Kutztown)

Other Links:

Oh Beautiful Beer
Brewed in the Burg by GK Visual
Harrisburg Beer Week
The Eternal Tap in St. Mary’s, PA
Death of Flagships: But Why?
A Tribute to a Mentor and a Friend
Market Cross; Carlisle, PA

House of 1000 Beers; New Kensington, PA

Beer Busters Podcast

Be sure to stick around for the After Show in which we discuss writing a beer blog, the design ideas behind Bearcat On Beer and The Operation Shutdown.

You can listen by clicking above or find The Operation Shutdown on iTunes. If you use iTunes, please consider subscribing. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider leaving a review and sharing it with a friend.


Olde School Becomes the Height of Modernity


Free Will Brewing Co. is one of those brewers that has such a high level of trust from me that I am willing to impulsively buy anything with their name on the label because I know it will be of high quality.

When I was in a bottle shop a couple months ago, I saw a bottle of the above pictured beer sitting by its lonesome on a bottom shelf. I picked it up without even looking at the label. If there were two I would have bought both. Olly is an Oud Bruin or a Flemish Brown style of beer. This style dates back to the 17th Century in the Flemish region of Belgium. Oud Bruin undergoes a long aging process in wood, along with a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This coupled with the bacteria and cultured yeast, imparts a sour flavor to the beer. This is Old World brewing defined.

Free Will’s Olly is using Old World techniques to give us beer that tastes like the height of modernity. Olly, after brewing, is aged for between 2 or 3 years in oak barrels and foudres with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus bacteria, then it was blended before bottling.

Olly is a slightly reddish brown ale with a plunging depth of flavor and multiple layers. The capped and corked bottle opened with a typical “plunk” but no drama as the beer is lightly carbonated. The medium bodied beer has tiny bubbles that offer no head and only a slight ring of off-white at the meniscus of the glass. The ale has cherry, dark fruits, and plum flavors throughout with a slight dry woodiness in the finish. The finish is long and where this stellar beer shines by showing off the funk of brettanomyces, the clean lactic acid of lactobacillus and more acute sour of pediococcus. No astringency from the 7.9% ABV makes this an easy sipper to be shared (or not in my case).

After the American beer market homogenized over flavorless adjuncts the pendulum swung back towards craft beer that sees the surging industry we celebrate today with a variety of styles and substyles that boggles the mind.

What Free Will has done with Olly is use an Old World method to give us a completely modern beer. Olly is easily representative of all that is great about the current craft beer industry.  The ability to make something modern, fresh in perspective, and seemingly novel from a centuries-old style and method. As we leave the homogenized adjunct lagers of Macro brewers as road kill run over by widespread and local disruption it will continue to be the brewers’ willingness to embrace old methods along with new to push and renew the concept of craft.

Who would have thought that the modernity of New World brewing would be found in the Old World?

Post Script: The irony of my idea of modern beer taking three years to rest in wood barrels is not lost on me.

As craft brewers continue to discover and refine these old methods it will bring forth a wealth “new” beers for us to explore.

I am far more interested in the exploration and development of these “Old World” styles than I am anything else these days.

Olly on the bottle is Olly from The Sifl and Olly Show. This clip is from 1997. I feel old.