It was a 2013 winter’s day that brought Atlanta to a standstill, leaving cars parked on highways for days, closing businesses and making national headlines. But with Joran Van Ginderachter, a foot-powered Belgian, as brewmaster, Three Taverns remained open for a scheduled brew day as the entire region took a weather-enforced holiday.
As it happened, Joran walked into the brewery that day with an ear-to-ear grin. The crisp, frigid air, he announced, was clean and healthy. In sum, perfect conditions for open fermentation, a process by which wild yeast is “caught” from the air instead of cultivated.
So we transferred wort into a mini-fermenter and placed it outside, exposed to the air. Over the next few days we observed the signs of spontaneous fermentation and were rewarded with a wild yeast strain that literally arrived with the wind.
After primary fermentation the wort was transferred into an oak barrel for maturing. After many months of aging, in keeping with wild beer traditions of Belgium, the first Three Taverns sour beer emerged. Next, Joran began replicating the fermentation and maturing process in more North Georgian wine barrels with their unique, wild-caught yeast strain.
The result is Inceptus, (Latin for “beginning”), a wild ale of remarkable complexity. It is both our brewery’s first sour-ale offering, and the “first born” of an emerging series of wild ales—based on the unique yeast strain the crisp winter air delivered us back in 2013.