February 12, 2019
Manufacturing insights

You'll be able to taste baseball bats in Wormtown's new beer

Photo | Courtesy
Baseball bats were torched before they were put in a tank with beer to create Wormtown's new beer.

Wormtown Brewery in Worcester is celebrating becoming the official hometown brewery of the Worcester Red Sox by releasing Welcome to Worcester, $1.25, a unique beer aged with baseball bats from Connecticut company Dream Bat Co. The bat-aged beer will be available at the brewery, while another brew of the same beer without the bat flavor will be sold separately. Brewmaster Ben Roesch told WBJ about the manufacturing process.

How did the idea for this beer come about?

It's kind of been a slow-evolving process. We became a supporter of the ballclub as one of 21 founding partners, and we wanted to celebrate by doing something special. Since we make beer, it seemed like the most logical thing.

Why go with a Vienna lager style?

We wanted to make a beer to be enjoyable to drink during a ballgame. We wanted to choose something on the lighter side even though it's cold and snowy now. Baseball season is warm and sunny, so we went with a Vienna lager. It's a style we don't normally brew. They're known for being malt forward and more flavorful than a typical lighter lager.

What does it taste like?

There are notes of bready malt and some light caramel sweetness. We tried to go traditional in the main batch of beer using Vienna malt from Germany, Munich malt from Maine and Germany-grown hops.

How do the bats come into play?

We wanted to put a little bit of a twist on it and bring a baseball theme in. We do other wood-aged beers, but this was a little different.

We were introduced to a local batmaker and asked them for some bats. They gave us bats that didn't quite make it through the process of becoming a bat. They're basically just natural pieces of wood.

How are they used in the beer?

We took a blowtorch and toasted the wood, which serves a couple purposes: It gives us a little more flavor to work with and sanitizes the surface of the wood.

We put them inside one of the small tanks and filled with beer. That contact time will bring out the flavor of the wood bats.

Can you actually taste the wood from the bats?

You will be able to. They're aging right now and lagering. You'll get a nice pronounced wood flavor.

How long does the process take?

We put the bats in on Friday, so it's only been a few days. The beer has already been fermented, so for us it's just a matter of aging it. It can take anywhere from 5 to 7 days to 14 to 17 days.

The amount of time it takes for the beer to take up the bat flavor will be interesting because there aren't really any rules of thumb out there as far as how long it takes to infuse the flavor of bats into beer.

Have you guys done anything like this before?

Wood aging is pretty common in beer. The fact the bats are made out of wood, it's not that far of a stretch. We've done a couple kegs of glitter beer using edible glitter. We did that for a couple special events.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Staff Writer Zachary Comeau.

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