The beer is called Vanilla Sarsaparilla and was more or less a collaborative effort with a really good account of ours down in Kalamazoo, called the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange (KBE). Basically, KBE had come up with an idea for a beer, and even though we do not do contract beers anymore, they were wondering if we would consider making this beer for them on a one time only basis and allow them to come to Bellaire to assist with the brewing of it. Seeing as this was the first time anyone had approached us requesting that we create a beer for them in this mutual fashion, we decided that we would give it a try to see what the outcome could be. KBE proposed that we make a beer using vanilla and sarsaparilla as the featured ingredients. Vanilla has a wonderful complimentary quality to many of the sweet flavors in beer, while sarsaparilla has a distinctly recognizable flavor similar to ingredients like anise or clove. Therefore, we wanted to design a beer that would complement, but also showcase the two ingredients in a mutual fashion. It was decided that we would loosely base the malt recipe off of a traditional German Dunkel beer, or dark lager, because the malt profile up front would complement the sweeter flavors of the vanilla, while providing a sufficient backbone for the defined character of the sarsaparilla, allowing the finish to remain clean and crisp, avoiding any negative lingering effects of either non-traditional ingredient. The majority of this batch has been sold to KBE to be featured at their restaurant, but we held on to two 1/2 barrels to be enjoyed at the pub and has becombe affectionately known as the "root beer beer".
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