Urban Artifact is known for not doing things the way everyone else does. This beer is another prime example of that ethos. We’re headed headfirst right into Bock season here in Cincinnati (I have a rundown coming… get ready for a lot of bock beers) and Urban Artifact is releasing theirs this week, but as expected, it’s a bock maybe unlike anything that this city has ever seen.
The brewery made a fairly traditional bock to celebrate the upcoming spring. Deep copper color with garnet highlights, there’s nothing that looks different about it. Toasty german-style malts are prominently featured, with flavors of caramel, honey, and crusty bread. That’s about where things end as far as “traditional” goes, though.
This beer started to veer off the path of ordinary back last summer, when in July the brewing team from Urban Artifact headed to the Museum Center at Union Terminal where they started gathering wild yeast. The process of gathering wild yeast is fascinating on its own – and something that I really need to talk about one of these days with you – but for the sake of this post, let’s just say that it smashes together every bit of science, art, and madness that brewing beer encompasses.
If you didn’t start to guess already, this wild yeast is what they used to ferment their “was semi-traditional” bock beer, after they stashed it away in a red wine barrel. The barrel itself lended a bit of fruitiness and a mild tannic character that they balanced out by adding some tart cherry pie-like fruitiness in the form of cherries.
You’re left with a weird beer that is all Cincinnati, and all Urban Artifact.
Getting The Beer
Most of the bock beer that is made in Cincinnati is consumed in a weekend long festival called bockfest. We pound bock beer like it’s actually going to make the spring come faster that weekend. Because of this, most of the time, when you hear me talk about a bock I quickly follow it up with you being able to snag some of it for yourself at Bockfest. That’s not the case with this one.
It’s only going to be available during the Museum Center’s CurioCity Crafting Culture event that’s being held at 7pm on Thursday, February 9th at Urban Artifact. The event explores Cincinnati’s 200 years of beer history and provides a look at the science of crafting beer along with the fermentation process.
You can get tickets to the event on the Museum Center’s website, or by calling 513-287-7000. If you’re a member of the museum, they’re only $10 ($15 if you’re not). This is some cool stuff, and for a heck of a good cause (support the museum!)