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What is Tasti & How Do We Get There?

It would be pretty easy to roll into an introduction of tasti, our infinitely quaffable Kolsch, with the same kind of allusions made in the longform look at Backpacker Blonde. Their situational crossover and appeal feel largely shared, which I think makes the deeper exploration all the more exciting. Lawnmower beers, patio crusher etc. True. But the differences in both recipe and process can highlight the diversity of styles that fall into this subsection of the spectrum.

So, broadly, what is tasti? It’s the beer that Don Draper keeps the garage fridge fully stocked with as a fix all to yard work on a summer day (Jon Hamm probably does the same thing with that Skip the Dishes money).

Wait - no. I already said that this would be too easy. Better. It’s the European (ie. refined by association) import that helps shift the entire perception of beer from something exclusively relegated to Dad’s private fridge in the garage, to a beverage deserving of a place on every table. To be brought out with the fine silverware while entertaining. Of course, it pulls the greatest trick of all by remaining the mainstay choice for those same sun drenched chores. Clever.

I suppose that’s kind of abstract. Let’s tighten the search parameters. What is a Kolsch? Born in Cologne, Germany it’s the style that gracefully bridges the gap between lagers and ales. Another name for the style? Lagered Ale. Ale yeast is fermented at it’s comfortable, slightly warmer temperature before undergoing a gradual, extended cold conditioning period. The expressive flavours of the yeast mellow while the entire beer gently comes together, smoothing out any edges.

This hybrid approach to fermentation felt like a task well suited for a strain of yeast coming from the team at Escarpment Labs out of Guelph, Ontario. In their exploration of every avenue and use for the fast acting family of Kveik yeasts, they harvested a strain that they called: Krispy.

To generalize, Kveik is a traditional Nordic yeast in the midst of a massive resurgence. It’s ability to ferment at high temperatures produces diverse, bold flavours, while its rapid speed allows for quick turnover. In fact, we used a Kviek/Saison blend in You Got Me Hummin’ for the Holidays. By fermenting at a cooler temperature than other Kviek strains, Krispy produces more gentle, clean flavours while still harnessing increased speed to complete the process of lagering in a shorter, more manageable window. With high attenuation rates (the yeasts’ ability to consume and convert sugars for fermentation), Krispy leaves very little residual sugars which leaves a dry finishing beer. The ultimate refreshment.

TLDR: Special yeast makes beautiful, clean beers in record time! Record time means even more beautiful, clean beers for drinking!

So how does that come through with tasti? All of that talk of yeast and fermentation ultimately boils down to the subtleties that mark the finish of this beer. Towards the backend of the beer there is a soft profile of pear and ester driven fruit. It’s remarkably dry finish epitomizes clean, leaving very little on the palate after swallowing. Effervescent carbonation helps push the dry finish to its fullest potential, while drawing the soft bitterness of the hops to the forefront for an exceptionally well balanced pint.

The combination of Pilsner and Vienna Malts lead to tasti pouring pale straw in colour, with a gentle malt profile. Pilsner is a base malt perfectly suited for brewing lager-style beers, as it imparts mild flavours of bread and grain sweetness. Despite its mild profile, it maintains prominent body and mouthfeel in the finished beer, preventing tasti from coming across as watery or thin. The minor addition of Vienna adds both colour and subtle complexity with more developed notes of toasted bread, biscuit, and honey. The malt bill strikes the perfect balance of flavour, body, and restraint in forming the optimal low ABV crusher.

For all of its simple pleasures, tasti is a beer which humbly draws little attention to its hidden depths. Exemplify the importance of thoughtful ingredient selection and purposeful process in even the most (perceivably) straightforward beer, this nimble little Kolsch is an offering as steeped in tradition as it is a case for experimentation.
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