Gift of Screws Bière De Garde

An elegant high-alcohol Belgian with overtones of hibiscus and rosewater!
  • Grain bill:  Vienna, Red X, Belgian Aromatic
  • Hops:  Barbe Rouge
  • Yeast:  Omega French Saison OYL-026
  • Secret ingredients:  Golden Candi Sugar, Hibiscus, Rose Water
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Origin Story:

ESSENTIAL oils are wrung:
The attar from the rose
Is not expressed by suns alone,
It is the gift of screws. – Emily Dickinson

I’m not a big poetry fan, but I really dig Lindsey Buckingham.  His fifth album is called Gift of Screws while I was taken with both the title and the rocking song of that name, I wasn’t sure what the phrase meant.  Minimal digging revealed that Lindsey borrowed much of the song from an Emily Dickinson poem. (Obligatory Old Guy moment:  if we were still buying physical media I would have picked this up from the album credits.  While we gain some things, we lose others….)

I’m sure there are a lot of meanings you could draw from the poem.  Mine:  one’s natural potential does not really manifest itself until it is put under pressure.  While the stress and strain may be painful, it’s this process of refinement that reveals greatness.

The brewing process is another metaphor:  barley, hops, water and yeast contain all the elements necessary for a great beer, but it requires a process of grinding, boiling, cooling, and molecular transformation to bring one into the world.  So this beer was conceived as a celebration of adversity.

The seed for the recipe was planted when I heard about the Belma hop, a french variety that has notes of strawberry and melon.  Hal suggested that a Bière de Garde would be an appropriate canvas for the Belma.  The strawberry pushed me into thinking in red tones and the picture started to fill out—Red X malt and a touch of hibiscus.  I had recently baked a rose-flavored babka in a baking class with Shimi Aaron.  Daubing this brew with a touch of rosewater was a grace note that cycled back to the theme.

Laura came back for label duties and brought to life my amazing Rube Goldberg steampunk brewing machine.  I could only dream of having gear this cool. 

Music Pairing:

When I was a kid I freaking loved the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Let’s be honest—it’s probably mainly because the car flew.  You can’t tell me there aren’t a lot of kids who became Harry Potter fans for the same damn reason.

But pulling back, like a lot of live-action kids films of the era, this is a really weird movie.  It’s clearly a Disney movie—it’s got Dick van Dyke, music by the Sherman brothers, comical but ultimately low-stakes problems—but it wasn’t released by Disney.  And it was written by Ian Fleming—yes, Dr. No and From Russia With Love Ian Fleming.

And the music is really superb.  As a kid I always asked for the house organist at Papa’s Pizza to play the bouncy theme song.  As an adult with more than a few scars on me, I relate more to “The Roses of Success”—if there’s a funnier and more joyous hymn to failure out there, I haven’t heard it.

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