Drink for Pink has always been about a local Colorado connection, and we’re fortunate to have so many amazing breweries in the state to partner with and learn from. One of those breweries, Factotum Brewhouse, has been with Drink for Pink from the very start. They hosted one of our first events in October of 2015. We were eager to come back for round two.
This year, we wanted to do something a bit different than the traditional one-night event model. Factotum Brewhouse is a unique in that they welcome guest brewers in to brew beer that will eventually end up on tap. In fact, they’re focus is on the guest brewer, educating them and helping them to hone their craft:
It’s about providing them a stage so they may display their craft, refine their talents, and receive unbiased public feedback.
To help showcase the uniqueness of Factotum Brewhouse, they invited us in to brew our own beers that would be on tap for the month of October. We were beyond excited to take part in the brewing process, and with their expert guidance, I think we created two beers you’ll really enjoy! Here’s a snapshot of how those beers were created.
Getting Started with Brewing Beer
A few members of Drink for Pink had some prior homebrewing experience, but I was not one of those individuals. Sure, I’ve been on my fair share of brewery tours around Colorado, and I had a rough idea of the process. I certainly didn’t know the in’s and out’s though.
I met up with the co-owner Christopher, and we set out to make a pink IPA. To start, we poured a few buckets of grains into some hot water in a vessel referred to as a mash tun. The purpose of the mash ton is to soak the grains and pull out sugars that will later be used in the fermentation process. To get the pink color, we also added several bags of beets.
Sparging and Lautering Into the Brew Kettle
Once the grains were thoroughly soaked in the hot water for roughly an hour, it was time to move to the next step in the process. We now had the liquid and sugars we wanted, but we needed to separate it from the spent grains.
The mash tun we were using had a false bottom with a screen. That meant we could slowly filter the liquid (called wort) out without bringing along those spent grains. This wort would be moved over to the brew kettle where we would later add hops. This process (of bringing the wort over from the mash tun into the brew kettle) is referred to as lautering.
While we were lautering, we wanted to make sure we didn’t leave any left over sugars behind. While the wort was filtering out of the false bottom, we were adding some hot water to the top from the hot liquor tank. Despite the name, the hot liquor actually just contains water, not liquor! This process of adding hot water to the top of the mash ton is known as sparging. In brewer-speak, we were sparging water from the hot liquor tank and lautering wort into the brew kettle.
At this point, we had all of our wort (which tasted delicious by the way) in the brew kettle at a nice rolling boil. It was time to add some hops!
The wort would be boiling for about an hour. The point at which you add the hops during the boil determines whether the hops will be used for taste or mostly for aroma. We opted to use three different hops (Cascade, Saaz, and Cluster hops) at specific points throughout the boil.
Moving to the Fermenter
Once the boil was finished and all of the hops were added, it was time to move everything into the fermenter for the real action to happen. Once in the fermenter, we added yeast, which will convert the sugars to alcohol.
And there you have it! Both our pink IPA and pink saison (we used hibiscus to color the saison) are fermenting and waiting to be tapped in October. They’ll be on tap all month and the proceeds will go to Drink for Pink and benefit local cancer research. We can’t wait to try them both with you next month!
A huge thank you to everyone Factotum Brewhouse! We can’t recommend them enough. They were obviously very helpful in the actual brewing process, but they’ve also been huge supporters from day one. They offer a brewing package that would make a fun group event. Check it out here!