What could possibly be more exciting than sharing my first name with a supermodel, a famous childhood storybook character, and the Hollywood Madame? How about having an authentic German-style beer named after me!
OK, so the Heidi Weiss beer isn’t exactly named after moi. It’s named after a Jack Russell Terrier (Heidi Sorrell) and the “weizen” wheat style beer that authentic German bier is famous for.
I know what you’re wondering, who the hell names a beer after their dog?! That would be Steven Sorrell, owner/brewer of Low Brau, a nano-brewery looking for a good home in D.C.’s craft brewing capital — a.k.a. Ward 5. So when I heard about the Heidi Weiss beer from a coworker, I was compelled to investigate for two simple reasons: I have a Jack Russell and I love, love, love a good craft beer!
I recently talked to Steve about his passion for Heidi (his dog, not me) and for home brewing. Turns out it’s in his genes, having spent quite a bit of his childhood growing up in Germany with a German mother and military father. He is an interior architect by trade, specializing in restaurant and hospitality design. For several years he has dabbled in home brewing, and making his own recipes, but he holds authentic tasting German-style beers near and dear to his heart. Well, not only the beer. His adorable, energetic and faithful companion Heidi, as well.
Turns out, Steve and his wife Linda adopted Heidi about a year ago from Lizzy’s Lodge rescue group in Poolesville, Md. He points out that she is “all Jack,” (that’s dog-speak for a handful!) and still in training. Together, they have been home brewing in their Fort Totten home in northeast D.C. Heidi keeps Steven company in the kitchen and makes sure he stays true to his company motto, “embracing simplicity” while he carefully crafts his wheat beers. How simplistic? Well, the four main ingredients in his beer are: water, yeast, German noble hops and malt.
Steven has been receiving much attention for his efforts, including coverage in The Washington Post and On-Tap Magazine. What’s all the fuss about? His flagship beer the Heidi Weiss is a “session” beer, meant to be refreshing and lower in alcohol (5-6 percent range), and more drinkable — without ending up under the table. It has fruity aromatic characteristics and notes of clove, with a huge head (no similarity to me of course). It is also unfiltered, with a slightly cloudy deep orange hue and tiny effervescent bubbles. Are you getting thirsty yet?!
I had to ask Steve what constitutes a “nano-brewery,” and he explained it is smaller than a microbrewery, utilizes a two- or three-beer barrell system and produces about 90 gallons per batch. Very small indeed, but he stresses it’s about the quality, not quantity. He hopes to identify a suitable space for the brewery very soon in D.C.’s Ward 5. His plans incude distribution to bars in D.C., holding beer tastings, selling “growlers,” and participating in the popular NOVA Brewfests.
Meanwhile, Heidi, his Jack Russell sidekick, is not sitting idle. She is helping to spread the word through social media, putting the growl in growlers and making sure the beer earns her Paw of Approval. It’s a tough job indeed, but some lucky dog’s gotta do it!
For more information about the Low Brau nano-brewery, contact Steven at email@example.com.
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