Last year when the Iowa legislature and Governor Culver were gracious enough to change Iowa’s beer laws, we brewed our first high gravity beer in the form of a Belgian style blonde. It was a taproom hit and helped make the summer of 2010 a real blast. Everyone was so excited about it we decided we needed to bottle this goodness and make it a seasonal for 2011. The beer has held up well in bottles and quickly become our best seller so we will likely keep it around all year now that we are also expanding our fermenter capacity. Brewmaster Joe says that despite the light color it will also be a great winter beer since it has that sneaky 8.5% abv that will warm your spirits.
It is also our first medal winning beer, bringing home a Bronze medal at the North American Brewer’s Association 2011 North American Beer Awards. It is classified as a Belgian Style Strong Ale and the use of Belgian candy sugars adds the alcohol without weighing down the beer. Belgian yeast gives off some really nice fruit and spiciness and keeps it from being just another light summer brew. Mild hop additions add balance and aroma but very little bitterness. Joe is a big fan of this style and was really excited to be able to offer this instead of the traditional summer wheat or lighter pilsners.
We should also explain how the name came about since it has caused a bit of confusion. Unfortunately, many think it is Blonde Fat Ale, but think Femme Fatale (we had no idea Britney was planning an album but his name and are sure she was catching on to our trend) and you have it right. When we debuted the beer in the taproom, we looked around at about 8pm and realized everyone was REALLY happy and their cheeks were VERY rosy. The next day we were recapping how the beer went over and we all decided it was a really attractive beer but a little dangerous as people didn’t always know from taste that it was a higher ABV beer. Because we have such a fun and creative crew, we asked everyone’s input on a name for this new beer. Ryan, one of our bar staff, came up with the name Blonde Fatale: alluring, dangerous, fun but can get you in a little trouble and you want to keep coming back for more. Not mention it had a little European hint to it. So it stuck, and we are glad it did…. it gave us a reason to keep silly blonde wigs aroudn for everyone to play with!