Our fourth collaboration beer with Yards Brewing Company is certainly our sweetest (and perhaps spiciest) brew yet. It’s called Cookie Swap; a German Weizenbock brewed with molasses and fresh ginger. Often, seasonal beers are so intense it’s hard to have more than one. Thankfully, the team at Yards are experts when it comes to crafting balanced beers that you can return to again and again. That’s not to say Cookie Swap isn’t off-the-cuff. For Yards, this beer is a step in a stranger direction; it tinkers with different ingredients in refreshing ways. Sales Manager Rick Anstotz and Head Brewer Tim Roberts sat down with us talk about building this holiday brew. Here are five facts you might not know about Yards Cookie Swap. Next time you have one with friends, feel free to spit some knowledge.
1) Ginger: It’s Our (Muslin) Bag Baby.
A muslin bag is used to separate the ginger from the process and keep the beer balanced.
Tim: “These are not ingredients we typically use. We use ground ginger. It is fun for us to do stuff like that. I, certainly, and Tom [Kehoe], the owner and president, we think subtly and drinkability in beer is the most important thing in beer. When you use new ingredients you want to get that right from the start. The way we approach it is, we basically put [the ginger] in a muslin bag and submerge the ginger for a period of time. When it's gingery enough, we pull it out so there's not much fear of going overboard. For the brown sugar character, we use molasses, which we have a lot of experience with. This uses as much molasses as the Tavern Spruce does.”
2) We Love Schneider Aventinus!
Cookie Swap was, in the some ways, modeled after Schneider Aventinus.
Tim: “Andy [Farrell] [City Tap’s Brand Director] came up with the idea of a holiday beer. None of us, particularly us Yards guys, like all the pumpkin spice beers. Andy wanted to approach it like that, but with a different angle. The fruity character of the yeast get us some interesting flavors. We're all really big fans of [Schneider] Aventinus, which is sort of in the ballpark of the beer we're trying to make. The ginger got us there, as well as the sugar.”
3) Yards Has Never Made a “Holiday Beer” Before Cookie Swap.
Tim: “We've never made a winter-ish beer. We have the Tavern Porter, the Spruce, and whatnot and they fit very well in that season, but this is the first time we've done a holiday themed beer. We have beers that fit the seasons, but we don't actually call them seasonals. We wanted something that was going to be approachable and in a style that sells well for City Tap House. We figured the holidays were a good time to introduce a beer like this. We wanted to experiment with some new things. It's a little bit different for us, which is exciting.”
4) Cookies Can Be Paired with Cookie Swap.
Yes, this is a no-brainer, but we figured we’d mention it. When asked about cookie preferences, here’s what the guys said:
Rick: “I even think chocolate chip cookies because ginger goes well with chocolate.”
Tim: “Anything spiced with cinnamon.”
5) Tim’s Wife Makes the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Which cookie deserves a beer? Mrs. Robert’s homemade cookies.
Tim: “My wife makes the best cookies in the world actually. Best chocolate chip cookies you'll ever eat. If any cookie deserves one it's that.”
BONUS FUN FACT: Another name we considered before "Cookie Swap" was "Stocking Stuffer." Happy holidays everyone!