A short frenetic timeline of how this all got started:
After being introduced to the style of bière de champagne by my boss and mentor Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing Co. (I think he suggested I pick up a bottle of Deus Brut for Valentine’s Day), I set out to try and brew such a beer to celebrate the outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election. We called it “Inaugur-ale!”. After a stuck fermentation forcing me to pitch champagne yeast to finish the beer, we riddled the bottles by tilting a cardboard box full of bottles against my kitchen wall and turning them every day. Once they were ready, Will, his friend Brad, and my friend Josh came over, we “acquired” some liquid nitrogen from the lab above CBC, and began recklessly dipping the necks of the riddled bottles into this dangerous solution. As one might expect one of the bottles exploded sending glass and frozen beer flying in all directions. This then caused the liquid nitrogen to begin spilling out all over the floor of my old apartment. I have my doubts about getting my security deposit back.
At the Craft Brewer’s Conference in 2009 I had two separate conversions with brewers who had wanted to serve bière de champagne at their weddings but couldn’t afford the $25-$35 a bottle for Deus or Malheur. It occurred to me that there are no breweries in the United States that actually makes this style of beer. I could make a bière de champagne and sell it for substantially less; the wheels began spinning…
The first batch of what would become Enlightenment Brut was brewed in August of 2009. Since then I’ve spent the last year and a half brewing batch after batch refining both the recipe itself and my méthode champenoise technique. The brewhouse was purchased from Will Shelton of High and Mighty Beer Co. (please, check them out, they make some excellent beers!) in early 2010. Since then I’ve amassed equipment, written a business plan, built riddling racks (with a lot of help), finished brewing school, and enjoyed a LOT of bière de champagne! We are currently getting ready to release our first batch of Enlightenment Brut!