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It’s very high-quality malt. You could tell.

Eddie on Misty Dawn Saison

Misty Dawn Saison taps this week. It’s been an interesting process, raising the Misty Dawn from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean to the Tasting Room, and one man is uniquely responsible for its revival.

Cellarman Eddie Siciliano devised this particular recipe, submitted it during our first homebrewing competition, and won decisively.

IMG_5155Eddie’s been working with us for about a year-and-a-half, a recent graduate from Stockton with a degree in History.

“In college,  I got a homebrew kit for Christmas,” he tells us. “In school, it kind of became more of a passion than a hobby. I’d be sitting in my history classes thinking about recipes.”

His first brew — a Belgian Pale Ale — didn’t quite turn out as planned.

“There was snow on the ground,” he tells us, “so I figured I would go stick it on my grill in the snow to chill it after the boil. But the snow turned to ice and my first batch of beer fell out on my deck. I cried. I swear, I cried. I put some orange peels in at the end of the boil. That was all that was left.”

The second batch was the same beer, and it turned out really well.

So, after college, he began working at another Jersey Shore brewery before moving down here. He’s glad he did.

“I really like the people I work with,” he says. “Every day is different.”

Like most of us, Eddie’s first experience with Rabbit Hill’s malt was when we first brewed Three Plows back in 2016. They brought in a few samples of their latest work, and Eddie was impressed.

“It’s very high-quality malt. You could tell,” he says. “They’ve really dialed in their process over the past year. I thought it would be perfect in a nice rustic, earthy Saison.”

IMG_5132So, that’s what Eddie did — brewed up a good, classic Saison.

“Traditionally, Saisons were brewed with whatever grains the brewers could get their hands on,” he explains. “Some used oats, rye, spelt. And our good neighbors at Rabbit Hill offered us pilsner, wheat, and rye. So that’s what I used. It’s all Saaz hops and a blend of two yeast strains.”

He used a combination of Rabbit Hill’s pilsner, red wheat, and rye — his choice of hops and yeast both serve to support the flavors from the rye.

“The rye adds a little bit of spiciness to the clean and crisp pilsner malt,” Eddie explains, “and the wheat adds a nice body, some color, and some earthiness to the malt bill. The yeast produces some spicy and citrusy flavors to complement the spiciness of the rye and the Saaz hops have a grassy, spicy quality to them.”

The pilsner and the wheat make up the lion’s share of the malt bill, but the star is the rye.

“Rye is really pungent. The relatively small amount we used is perfect to get a hint of its characteristics without being overwhelming.”

Eddie’s a big fan of Saisons, regardless of what malt he’s using in them, so he was particularly glad the Rabbit Hill malt suggested to him a Saison.

“Saisons are an under-appreciated style,” he says. “When we kegged it, it was a really beautiful day, and it’s the perfect beer for sitting out in the Beer Garden.”

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That’s one of the things Eddie likes best about this beer — it’s good for an all-day, sit-in-the-warm-air-and-love-life drinking session.

“We need more drinking beers in this world,” he says, “sessionable beers that will evolve with time and conversation, rather than high-ABV bombs.”

He’s a fan of IPAs and Double IPAs, but, like the rest of us, he’ll have one or two of them and be done.

“Whereas this Saison is 5.4%,” he says. “It’s still low enough that you can have a couple of them. And that first one, when it’s hot out, it’ll go down quick. Then, as you start slowing down and the beer starts warming up, you’ll notice different characteristics than when it was cold. And it’s not in-your-face. It won’t be the topic of conversation. But it adds to the conversation.”

The best part of this for Eddie is seeing his recipe scaled up for full production — it’s kind of like watching a building go from blueprints to a full-scale structure.

“It’s awesome. It’s really cool,” he says. “It’s interesting to see how it went from a 5-gallon pot and a Gatorade-cooler mash tun to our three-vessel, thirty-barrel brewhouse. The brewhouse here has a higher hops utilization, so you can use less hops because it’s more efficient, but it’s essentially a lot of multiplication.”

Eddie’s excited to have our fans drink a beer he made.

“It’s tasting really good,” he says, “and it’s pretty similar to what I first brewed. Pretty spot-on. It’s exactly what I wanted. I can’t wait to try it.”

Luckily, neither Eddie nor you have to wait much longer. Misty Dawn Saison is on tap now in the Tasting Room. Be sure to give it a try.