Enlightenment Ales is a Massachusetts brewing project specializing in American Bière de Champagne and urban farmhouse ales. We make beers as a way of sharing experiences and communicating ideas.
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.
Here’s a picture of the aftermath…
At the Craft Brewer’s Conference in 2009 I had two separate conversations 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. I spent the next two years brewing batch after batch refining both the recipe itself and my méthode champenoise technique.
The original brewhouse was purchased from Will Shelton of High and Mighty Beer Co. (please, check them out, they make some excellent beers!) in early 2010. For tanks I used variable volume wine fermenters and built my own external cooling system with copper coil and bubble wrap insulation. We also had a “riddling rack building party” and put together ten hand made racks to house bottles of Brut during their conditioning phase. After a LOT of red tape and paperwork delays I finally released the first batch of Enlightenment Brut in July of 2012. Since then we’ve released a half dozen more beers and outgrew our tiny DIY brewery space.
In December of 2013 Enlightenment Ales officially partnered with Idle Hands Craft Ales in Everett, MA. Simply put, I sold all of my old equipment in Lowell, purchased a few shiny new 10 bbl fermenters, and moved them into the Idle Hands brewery. I now brew all of my beer on that system and have a wonderful business partner (Chris Tkach of Idle Hands fame!) who makes sure it reaches the masses.