The process of making the beer begins inside the glass-enclosed brewhouse. In a mill located above the brewhouse, malted barley, wheat and/or select grains are cracked and blended with hot water. The resulting mixture, called mash, is allowed to “rest” for a period of time during which the hot water activates starches in the grains to convert to complex sugars. This activity takes place inside a vessel called a mashtun, which has a false bottom thus allowing the now sweet liquid, called wort, to flow into the brew kettle.
The wort is boiled for at least an hour. At different times during the boil hops are added to help contribute flavor, aroma and bitterness to the beer. After the boil the wort is whirlpooled for clarity, then drawn through a hop back or hop percolator for an additional, parting encounter with hops. From there its drawn through a heat exchanger, where it is cooled to an acceptable temperature and finally into a fermentor. Once all of the wort has been collected, yeast is added and fermentation begins. The yeast consumes the sugars in the wort to produce among other things CO2 and alcohol. Once most of the available sugars have been consumed primary fermentation is considered over and then the young beer is transferred to a conditioning vessel for maturation. After weeks in conditioning the beer is filtered into serving vessels whereupon it will flow through the taps at the bar.
Brewer Aaron Mateychuk while very proud of the consistent quality of WCBC’s five mainstays (of which the Hops Explosion won a 3rd place finish at the GNEIBF in 1999 and a 1st place in 2001) he is especially proud of the range and quality of the seasonals and specialties he produces. They run the gamut from strong (Moonshine Burley Whine) to sublime (Clockwork Summer Ale). Aaron will often employ distinctive European yeast strains to create a series in beer styles. For instance a recent Belgian series included an Abbey, a Dubbel, a Wit and some hybrids. A German lager strain was responsible for “Clocktoberfest Lager,” “Mach Marzen” and a dark Munich-styled lager. Uniqueness is practiced in ingredient selection as well. A variety of herbs, spices, fruit, and grains are employed in the “construct” of many of the specialty beers. Freshness and high standards for quality are apparent in all the beers at Watch City.
January finds Father Time Winter Ale, a spicy, warm, winter scarf-of-a -beer, on tap. In March Shillelagh Irish Red followed by WhiteOut Winter Wheat spend time on our taps. In Late May early June the much- anticipated Clockwork Summer Ale arrives with its fragrant, citrus imbued aroma. In July Jeux D’Esprit Wit, the Belgian Wit to quench all thirsts begins it tenure. September and October sees the arrival of Clocktoberfest Lager & Biking Bob’s Bohemian Pilsner, both equally sumptuous, malt-rounded, but dry beers. Pie-Eyed Pumpkin Ale makes its bold stay on our taps in October memorable with its liberal amount of sugar pumpkins (added right into the kettle during the boil.) November and December are capped off by the start of Father Time Winter Ale & FNA Imperial IPA season.
Throughout the year certain specials pop up at less predictable times. Chocolate Thunder Porter (Bronze Medal at the 1999 GABF) is brewed with real locally-made chocolate and can usually be found on tap in the fall. Skye High Scotch Ale (2nd place at the 1998 GNEIBF) is a late winter/early spring entry. Busta’Nut Brown Ale, World Champs Wheat, Bombed Blondeshelle Tripel, and Brilliant Brewnette Belgian Dark, all join a cast of other long running specialties. For the cask enthusiast we offer one product every month or so that adheres to accepted American styles.