The Making of Dr. Klankenstein - Sixpoint Craft Ales
In late 2009, Sixpoint Craft Ales President Shane Welch and Sixpoint Engineer David Liatti were having a pint of Sixpoint Sweet Action at The Modern - the bar and restaurant adjacent to the world famous Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Earlier that day, Shane and Dave attended a design exhibit which featured one of David's products. Afterwards, they decided to hit up the Museum. After an afternoon of viewing the likes of Piet Mondrian, Andrew Wyeth, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol, Dave and Shane kicked back and began to have a beer-inspired discussion about the true meaning of Modern art - what it is, and where it could be found. After some deliberation, they had their "aha" moment - to discover real MODERN ART one need not look further than the product they created on a daily basis - sitting right in front of their own eyes. Could it actually be that real modern art is not confined to austere museums - on display to isolated bystanders - but rather flowing from the taps in bars all around NYC? Has a grassroots, productive and creative renaissance swept NYC, and the entire country? If not, they concluded, they were determined to make it so!
After viewing the works of the "old masters" at the Museum, Shane and David thought about their own industry. Who were the people who came before them, and what did they do? Wouldn't it be fun to channel the spirits of the old brewers, but move forward with their own style and creativity? Shane had read in a brewing journal the night before about old German brewers making "stein beer" in the medieval period. The entire "stein beer" process sounded very adventurous - prior to the advent of natural gas burners or coal powered furnaces, brewers in the medieval period used to make gigantic cauldrons of beer under a log fire. The only issue was the log fire under the cauldron could not generate enough heat energy to raise the beer up to a rolling boil. So the Germans devised a novel technique - they would place rocks into an open flame until they were glowing red hot, and then launch them into the kettle. The rocks would transfer the heat energy to the cauldron of beer, and the beer would go up and beyond the necessary boiling temperature.
It sounded dangerous, mysterious, and fun. Yes, perhaps risky....but with the proper techniques, good brewing instincts, and a foundation of the knowledge of physics, it would be one hell of a project to conquer! Yes! It sounded like a creative, scientific, and fun engineering experiment - perfect for Sixpoint Craft Ales! It was at this point in time Shane approached his friend Ehren at the Modern - the beverage manager. He asked Ehren if he would be interested in collaborating with them on this brew, and Ehren responded with his 100% support and commitment to the cause. The entire staff at the Modern was behind the experiment, and psyched to see it happen. The only problem was Shane and David had no idea how to pull this off, as there was no manual on how to properly make a stein beer. This style of beer had been defunct for several centuries, and there was no written record on how stein beers were actually made. So, how did it pan out? This video captures the journey from concept through process to end result - with a spectacular ending.