Behind the Beard: Episode 01-0923

Welcome to a new segment for September 2023 called Behind the Beard!

We sit down with Steve and Tony Conrad, our father-son brew team, and get the inside scoop on what’s brewing and the stories behind the brews (and the beards).

Just launched for September 2023 is a brand new brew, The Ghost of Tank #2 Wallonia Saison.

Busey Brews: Thanks for sitting down with us! What can you tell us about the Ghost of Tank #2?

Tony Conrad: The beer was inspired by the one of my favorite saisons made by a brewery called Fantôme in the Wallonia region of southern Belgium. I’m interested in their stuff, and their brewer Dany Prignon. I like a lot of saisons but not ones with the banana esters. In general, we were looking for something more approachable, not so much barnyard, horse blanket funk, more mellow, easier drinking. We were able to find a yeast strain from that region, It came from White Labs out of San Diego.

BB: Where did the name come from?

TC: We had a weird thing happen with the new chiller system, the beer fermented out and we put it in the tank that wasn’t hooked up yet, so we let it do the room temp thing. The ghost part is a nod to Fantôme, and…

Steve Conrad: …and also the Ghost in the Machine; we were fighting with our chiller system. It was acting weird, like there was a ghost in there.

BB: Just in time for fall weather and spooky business. What can our customers look forward to when tasting this saison?

SC: Strawberry and apricot notes, instead of banana and clove which is typical of many saisons.

TC: We started it out at a certain point then let it free rise in the tank. The fermentation schedule was on purpose to avoid the banana and clove flavors.

BB: How long did it take to make?

TC: Saison yeast has a reputation for having a stall out moment; we fermented for a solid 3 weeks.

BB: What ingredients are in this beer?

SC: Belgium pilsner malt and Belgium malted wheat.

BB: What would you recommend pairing with this brew?

TC: Because of the apricot notes, I’d try it with the Pork Smokin’ Sandwich.

BB: Kyle (owner/GM) is excited because In the next few days, you guys are getting ready to put one of his favorite brews, Commander Cow Imperial Stout, into Colorado Whiskey barrels for aging. Can you tell us more about that process?

(Photo Feb 2022)

TC: That one is an Interesting one. We’ll do a double mash on that. The beer is big and ready to go in barrels. We need to make sure the barrels are wet and ready for beer, but the Cow should be in the barrels this week. We use Laws Whiskey barrels, and are aiming for a February “Stout Month” release.

BB: What beer is being released in the next few weeks that you are excited about?

TC: Definitely the Oktoberfest Martzen release. We’ll be in matching lederhosen passing out samples. This recipe is really dialed in, and we’re really excited. Last year it was gone in less than a month. This one we got started brewing at the end of July.

BB: Is it true that you can tell if the brewer of a particular beer has a beard?

TC: Yes, definitely. It’s like a chef not having tattoos on his arms.

And there you have it! Thanks for joining us for this inaugural episode of Behind the Beard.

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