“But not for Braddock was the lure of green fields and running waters. Hers was to be a life of action and achievement, hers was no Lotus land of dreams. Already the faint tapping of a hammer and musical song of a distant saw-mill come at intervals on the quiet air: her industrial history is beginning.”
– George H. Lamb, The Unwritten History of Braddock’s Field (1917)
Braddock’s first factory, the first spark of manufacturing that kicked off its century-long tenure as an industrial epicenter, was a barrel factory. Established shortly before 1850 by a group of Scotsmen from Massachusetts, the cooperage was building oak barrels and furniture more than two decades before the arrival of Andrew Carnegie and the construction of his Edgar Thomson Steel Works.
The arc of industry rose and fell. This beating heart of Carnegie’s empire, once so central to the growth of America’s infrastructure, was barely hanging on by the end of the twentieth century.
Not much is known about Braddock’s short-lived barrel factory, but it began an industrial legacy that carries through to today. Even after steel’s collapse, manufacturing never left Braddock’s blood. Edgar Thomson still extrudes steady columns of steam into the sky, day and night. The rusted skeletons of old warehouses and utility vehicles sit amongst their modern, operational counterparts. These overgrown, graffiti-adorned monuments to industry, past and present, were what initially drew us here.
Being a part of that industrial legacy is an essential aspect of our company’s identity. A brewery is a factory: we take raw ingredients, process them using production equipment, and manufacture a commercial product. The beers we’ve made thus far rely on technical precision and methodology.
With the addition of oak barrels to our brewhouse, however – a fitting coincidence, given Braddock’s inaugural export – we’re now capable of producing a line of beers that are entirely unique to us. While technical precision remains a necessity, these farmhouse-style beers are allowed to develop their own character with minimal intervention.
While farmhouse beers were usually made on farms, Braddock’s historic past was built upon industry, not agriculture. So why are we making farmhouse beers in a steel town? Because sometimes, tradition is more of a reference point than a rulebook.
By the time Braddock’s first barrel factory began its operation in 1850, barrels had been made in much the same way for more than a millennium and a half. Much like the act of brewing, cooperage is all about human influence on natural elements.
The beginning of the barrel assembly process – the point at which the barrel begins to take form – is known as the mise en rose. At this stage, the cooper selects the staves and aligns them within a metal hoop, with the ends of the staves projecting outward to resemble a flower. Following this stage, additional hoops are added, the staves are made flexible with heat and humidity, and the barrel is tightened into place.
Named for this process, the Mise en Rose Collection is our take on the historic tradition of farmhouse ales. Originally exclusive to the European countryside, the style nearly met its end with industrialization and the rise of macro lagers. Thankfully, these versatile and complex beers have found new life as a significant niche of modern brewing culture.
These beers are designed to develop naturally over time with minimal human intervention. They are fermented and / or conditioned in oak for anywhere from a
few months to multiple years, as our house culture of wild yeast and bacteria creates unique aromas and flavors not found in our other products. Finally, these beers are conditioned in the bottle for several months to develop soft carbonation and additional complexity. They can be consumed fresh or aged further, and are the perfect companion to a wide variety of foods.
Bringing farmhouse beers to Braddock has been part of our vision for quite some time. It’s taken time and resources, research and experimentation, tasting and travel. We’re excited to broaden our knowledge and understanding of the subject as we bring more of these creations to life. And we’re even more excited to finally share them with you.
Mise En Rose, our oak-aged farmhouse ale collection, is named for “setting the rose” – the stage of the barrel-making process where the barrel first begins to take shape. With a focus on mixed culture fermentation, extended aging, and careful blending, the beers we truly love to brew and share are brought to life.
And while farmhouse beers are usually made on a farm, Braddock’s historic past was built upon industry, not agriculture. So why are we making farmhouse beers in a steel town? Because sometimes, tradition is more of a reference point than a rulebook.
After over two years of research, preparation, and aging, we’re proud to announce the arrival of the first beers in our Mise en Rose Collection.
Table Beer is our interpretation of a Belgian tafelbier. Traditionally served with meals, this delicate saison is aged for three months in oak foeders with our house culture, then naturally conditioned in the bottle. Straw-gold and refreshing, Table Beer is mildly tart, funky, and dry with an aroma of lemon and pear. Perfect for your next dinner party.
Essentially a series within the collection, Exploration & Discovery is our ever-changing line of experimental and blended farmhouse ales – our creative outlet for special styles, new techniques and unique ingredients.
Exploration & Discovery No. 1 is a saison aged in fresh white wine barrels with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus for eleven months, then naturally conditioned in the bottle. This tart, honey-colored farmhouse ale has aromas of white grape, peach, earth, and light funk leading to flavors of sour orange, minerality, bread, and oak.
Exploration & Discovery No. 2 is an American wild ale aged in red wine barrels for twelve months with a unique blend of wild yeast and bacteria, then further conditioned in the bottle for six months. Coming from a different end of the farmhouse beer spectrum, the mahogany-red beer is less tart than its predecessor, a bouquet of dark fruit and red wine with a character of oak, tannins, strawberry, cherry, and grape.
The Mise en Rose Collection will expand as we move forward to include additional core brands and ongoing Exploration & Discovery releases.