Steve Sorrell is a Fort Totten resident and long-time home brewer. For several years Steve has been brewing five gallon batches in his Fort Totten row house, perfecting his recipes and honing his craft. At the dawn of 2012, Steve is ready to leave the nest for a commercial space where he can brew for wider consumption. For the past several weeks he’s been on the hunt for a location amongst Ward 5’s CM-zoned (manufacturing) warehouses. From these new digs, Steve will brew under the name Low Brau.
Low Brau’s motto is “embracing simplicity” – German simplicity. Steve spent a chunk of his youth in Germany and maintained his connection to German culture when he moved to PG County for high school. His identification with German culture engendered an appreciation for German brewing techniques. As a result, Low Brau’s cornerstone offerings feature only the four main ingredients of beer: water, yeast, German noble hops, and malt, without any adjuncts to flavor the beer. Steve does expect to brew seasonal beers that feature natural adjuncts, but those will be exceptions rather than the norm.
Low Brau’s flagship brew called the Heidi Weiss is a German style Weiss (wheat) beer (it’s named after Steve’s energetic Jack Russell, Heidi). The Heidi is a session beer meant to be refreshing and in the lower alcohol range (falling somewhere in the 5% range, equivalent to an American Lager). It has fruity and clove notes with a huge head that adds to the aromatics. The Heidi is unfiltered, so it has a cloudy deep orange color with tiny effervescent bubbles resulting from champagne and weizen yeast. It’s delicious, smooth, and hopefully coming to a tasting room near you soon.
Steve is aiming for a 2012 opening of a Ward 5 nanobrewery: a 2 barrel system that will yield 4 kegs per cycle, and a number of fermentation vessels for production. He has been touring various locations in the Ward in search of a space that fits his size requirements and is in decent shape. So far he hasn’t committed to a space, but I’ll update the blog when he does.
As the lone brewer, Steve is initially planning to stay small and specialized with his German brewing style. (Limited partners would undoubtedly increase Low Brau’s distribution capacity.) He will also feature a weizenbock, called the Totten Bock. The Totten will be a wheat beer but closer to the 9-10% alcohol range (this is characteristic of weizenbocks). With caramel malts it will be a bit darker than his Heidi, and will have a sweeter amber flavor and higher alcohol content. Low Brau will also offer a seasonal apfelwein (hard apple cider) made from local apples that is dry, light and crisp.
Low Brau’s new website is up and running (although still has some holes): www.lowbraudc.com Stay tuned for updates on where Low Brau finally opens shop.
Note: the two professional-looking photos courtesy of Nubbs Photography.