A couple of the area’s best local producers are merging their products together for a unique collaboration.
Fresh off wins at recent tasting competitions, Camp Aquila Pure Maple Syrup and Disgruntled Brewing are teaming up for a maple syrup-infused beer.
Camp Aquila earned first place at the Vergas Maple Syrup Fest back in April. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Disgruntled won the best brewery award at the Detroit Lakes Craft Beer Tour.
Stu Peterson, who runs Camp Aquila on Star Lake, said he’s proud his maple syrup is making its way into the beer.
“It’s fun to work with Cyrus.” Peterson said. “They have good people in there.”
Cyrus is Disgruntled's new head brewer Cyrus Bickell, who said it was crazy to the best brewery award especially since he’s only been in his new role for a few months.
“Winning that one right out of the gates felt good,” Bickell said. “I obviously really wanted something. I didn’t expect it, but I wanted it.”
Last year, Disgruntled brewed a beer with Camp Aquila’s sap, but this will be the first time actual maple syrup will be used.
This spring’s favorable freezing and thawing cycles proved for a very productive year at Camp Aquila.
“We have plenty to go around,” Peterson said. “We’re not taking from established customers.”
When brewed sap gives off an aroma and flavor Bickell loves, while the syrup is purely sweet.
Bickell said brewing with syrup is very difficult, because the syrup’s sugars are extremely fermentable. If he adds the syrup too early, the yeast will eat it, and there will be no flavor. But if he adds the syrup too late, he runs the risk of the beer continuing to ferment in the can and building up pressure.
“I’m taking a big risk, but it’s a good risk,” Bickell said. “It makes for a good product.”
Peterson is now gearing up to submit Camp Aquila’s syrup at the International Maple Syrup Convention’s tasting competition in Duluth this fall.
When told about the risks Bickell took by brewing with the syrup, Peterson said, “I like to give him the inputs, and I like to get the outputs, but I’m not getting involved in the middle of it.”