Stealthy Black Project Drives Former Future Wild

former future black project

There is a magic to open fermentation.  You leave your potential beer completely dependent on prevailing winds and the general goodwill of the local flora.  It is a risky proposition with no sure outcome, but as with all great risks, when it turns out right the rewards are even greater.  The Black Project is a new exploration of spontaneous fermentation by the fine folks down at Former Future Brewing.  Chief Beer Officer James Howat is quick to note that this series of beers is separate in concept and branding from Former Future.  Because of the uncertain nature and timeframes involved with spontaneous fermentation, these beers will be released “when they are ready”.  No definite time tables, the beers will choose their own time for release.  Luckily, we managed to find our way under the radar to the stealthy release of the first in the series, Flyby.

From the initial press release with its partially redacted text to the actual event itself, this beer release has captured the feel of a covert operation.  I arrive at the brewery to find the shutters down and a closed sign on the door.  Through the glass of the door, I see movement inside.  Something is definitely afoot but it isn’t exposed to the light of day.  Slowly, people begin to trickle in around me, forming a nice and orderly line.  These people know what’s going on.  Pleasant conversation passes the time and then, without fanfare, the doors open and we are ushered inside.

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Each entrant was presented with a t-shirt commemorating the Black Project and two drink tickets, the first for any of the fine array of house beers and the second for a pour of the main event, the spontaneously fermented Flyby that will be tapped at 7pm.  Within 15 minutes of opening, every seat in the house is filled with happy patrons sipping on their appetizer beers awaiting the main course.  I had the wonderful Golden Feather, a light sour reminiscent of a Berlinerweisse.  It’s tasty and slightly tart, drinking like a great refreshing summer beer.

However, the clock rolls around to seven and finally the moment everyone has been anticipating arrives.  James gives us a bit of background on the beer and the fermentation method.  After the boil, a partial amount of the fresh wort was ran off into the shallow coolship on the roof and exposed to the elements, just like the classic Belgian breweries have done since time untold.  This wild inoculated wort was then added back to the remainder of the batch of beer for fermentation.

former future black project 14-2The beer itself is a hazy pale orange with a finger width of head that descends quickly.  The nose is lightly tart and fruity.  The body of the beer is moderate with lacing evident on the sides of the glass.  Speaking of which, I must point out the care with which Former Future treats their glassware.  Every glass prior to pouring is examined, rinsed and re-examined before a beer is poured.  This concern for the quality and cleanliness of the glasses results in a consistently excellent beer experience for the patrons.  The flavor of the beer gives notes of red apples and tangy peaches with a low-level of tartness and a nice clean finish.  If the future beers live up to the standards set by Flyby, we are in for a treat with this project.

Thanks again to James, Sarah and Mitch for a great beer and an excellent release event!

By: Greg Nelson

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