It's time to catch up with Vino's head brewer Josiah Moody on what's going on there lately and what they have coming up this Spring.
ArkBeerScene: Last time I was by Vino's Brewpub (earlier this week) you had a nice Saison on tap and it seems like you've had several of those lately, what's been going on there?
Josiah Moody: Yeah, it's the Slaughterhouse Series of Saisons. Slaughterhouse is a reference to my former assistant, Brian Youngblood (who goes by "Slaughter"), who moved out to L.A. and became level 2 Cicerone certified, which is a big deal, so to kind of celebrate that we did this series. He'd been home brewing with a French Saison yeast and we brought that in to the brewery and to keep it interesting we change it up. I don't know what it is about it that just makes me keep experimenting but I can't brew just a straight-up Saison. This is the 2nd year of it and I've done everything from mangoes and habanero peppers to pluots to the most recent, an experimental hop called HBC 342, a New Zealand strain. I thought it came out with lots of melons, tropical fruit... that kind of stuff. I was pleased with it. Currently in the fermenter is a blood orange Saison which I think I'm going to add hibiscus flowers to. I was just talking to the good folks at Loblolly Creamery today actually and they convinced me to add some hibiscus. I've actually learned a lot about working with fruit from them. You know, that's what they do, and do it very well. They give me a lot of tips along the way.
ABS: So that's going to wrap up the Slaughterhouse Series?
JM: For the foreseeable future it is. We've got some other projects so I'll probably move the Slaughterhouse off for a little while.
ABS: Other projects you can share?
JM: I've been jonesing to do my single hop Amarillo IPA, one of my favorite beers I've made. Pinnacle IPA is more of an British vs American IPA, British malts with a heavy dose of American hops. The Amarillo IPA is obviously BIG on Amarillo hops, strong and distinct. Coming soon.
ABS: I also noticed some new nitro taps in Vinos the other day?
JM: Yeah, we did that for St. Paddy's Day, barely got it in, we already had Guinness tap so we had nitrogen gas going in so I split that line and added our refurbished nitro tap and put our Oatmeal Stout on for St. Patrick's and it will stay on probably indefinitely.
ABS: It sounds like Left Hand Brewing is trying to trademark the name nitro, better be careful. Ha.
JM: I'm so surprised, you know Left Hand is such a solid brewery that doesn't seem to be so corporate I guess. Nitro is nitro! There are thousands of tap handles all over the country referred to as nitro. Now they were probably one of the pioneers of putting it in a can, like Guinness.
ABS: It seems the industry as a whole now, the gloves are off a bit. There weren't as many and everybody was friendlier maybe and now there aren't as many pieces of pie? We'll see where it goes, maybe that's a whole interview itself. New subject, I saw some casks in the brewery the other day?
JM: Yes, 15 1/2 gallon cask kegs, 3 of them. I pulled off Oatmeal Stout as the base and added molasses to each as priming sugar. Added cocoa nibs to one, G3 Coffee beans to the second and added little of both to third one for more of a mocha style. Those will be coming as the standard Oatmeal Stout comes off.
ABS: Sounds great. Last question I had for you. It's almost baseball season, my favorite sport, and I'm hearing you guys won't have any beer at Dickey-Stephens Park this year for the Arkansas Traveler's games? As long as I can remember you have!
JM: It's with some regret that I will say we are not doing the ballpark this year. It's a combination of factors. Summer is our busiest time for sales with patios open and people out so it's enough to keep our beers and keep experimenting in the restaurant. So adding 30 kegs over to the park, when I only make 7 at a time, takes a chunk out. In effect it means I don't get to do pilsner, I don't get to experiment... we're going to just have to pull back.
ABS: I see. You're shipping beer up to Jonesboro's Vino's location now too right?
JM: Yes, we are. We have 1 tap and rotate our beers, maybe 6 kegs a month. We're starting to get around town, that's part of the calculus about pulling back from the park. I probably get more bang for the buck getting a keg out to the local establishments and the keg will last a bit long and get more exposure.
ABS: Once again, thanks for your time and we'll be talking to you again soon as I hope!
You can sample some of Josiah's excellent work for yourself at Vino's Brewpub. Get a growler while you're there.