An O.H.S.O Wonderful Date Night
By Aaron Forrester of Beers N’ Buddies
On a recent date night my wife and I decided to change things up and get things cooking… or more precisely, brewing.
For those unfamiliar with O.H.S.O (Outrageous Homebrewers Social Outpost), this eatery and nano-brewery opened in the Arcadia area of Phoenix in 2011. O.H.S.O. has since expanded with a much larger brewery in the Paradise Valley area, a distillery in North Scottsdale, and recently began construction on their downtown Gilbert location.
Although each location is part of the same family, each is unique. The Arcadia location actually offers is the opportunity to brew your own beer! Every few months, O.H.S.O opens a select amount of brew dates and beer styles they want to later have on tap. For $50, this experience is open to anyone who has a passion for beer, wants to learn more about the brewing industry, or those looking for a great night out.
Both my wife and I share a love for craft beer, so I purchased a brew day and prepared for our date night. In the weeks leading up to our brew day, I racked my mind with all the flavor possibilities. The head brewer, Matt Flanagan, develops each recipe based on the desired style of each guest. Although he loves guest creativity and originality, Matt ensure that the beers will ultimately taste great. Thankfully, we were inspired by my sister-in-law, who was recently pregnant. Due to her pregnancy, my sister-in-law was not drinking alcohol and was excited to enjoy our upcoming beer as soon as she was able to. Fruit-forward Belgian beers have always been her favorite, so as a reward for 9 months of waiting, we decided that “9 Months Waiting” would be a Belgian Dubbel with peach and apricot puree.
As we entered the building we were warmly greeted by the head brewer, Matt as well as assistant brewer, Dave. Dave would be walking us through each step of the process. Once we set our personal belongings at our private table, my wife and I went straight to work. Bucket by bucket, and stir after stir, we began to incorporate the grains of our beer into the mash tun. The sweet aromas of the mash are so welcoming to the senses. There are few smells I love more.
Once our mash was evenly incorporated, it was time to wait. At this point we took advantage of the opportunity to tour the rest of the brewery. While explaining the various ingredients and their properties in the brewing process, Dave allowed us to sample various types of malts. This was not only informative, but educational as to why certain beers taste the way that they do.
Time flew by and now it was the time to transfer the brew from the mash tun into the boil kettle. Bright orange flames licked the bottom of the kettle and danced like a furious ballet. Once our brew reached boiling temperature, my wife had the honor of adding the first batch of hops. As exciting as this step was, we were both hungry and with more than an hour of waiting, it was time to have dinner. Dave graciously took our meal requests and in no time we were dining on crispy pork belly while we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of O.H.S.O. After we finished our delicious meals, paired with more beers from other guest brewers, it was time to add the final ingredients to the boil; Amber Belgian candi syrup which tasted a lot like maple syrup, and then the final batch of hops. By now, the brew smelled beautiful and had become an amber hue. Dave had taken time to prep the yeast as well as the heat exchanger that was needed to drop the temperature of the wort to a proper temperature. As the hot wort entered the heat exchanger buried in ice, we could see the ice rapidly melt and create a slight fog. Ounce by ounce, the wort traveled through the exchanger and into the fermenter.
After pitching the yeast into the chilled brew, our part in the brewing process was complete. Dave and Matt would ensure that the beer was taken care of and that when the time was ready, transfer the beer into kegs and have it prepared for our tapping on September 23rd, at 7pm.
Having experienced a brew day at O.H.S.O, I can honestly say that this experience was like no other. Not only was this an amazing date night with my beautiful wife, but it fanned the flames of my passion for craft beer and for the brewing industry.
UPDATE: Below is the followup video