Brewing Saison 28 with Zeroday Brewing

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There’s no fancy way to say this. Brewing is hard work. I’ve watched people brew before, I’ve home brewed before, but I have never brewed on a professional system. At least not until now.

Zeroday Brewing is a brand new brewery that just opened in Midtown Harrisburg this past Wednesday. The owners, Brandalynn and Theo Armstrong, just happen to be best friends of mine. Theo, head brewer, and I have brewed my birthday saison together for the past few years, and they extended the offer to continue brewing this beer each year until we physically can’t brew it anymore.

Theo and I sat down and discussed what I wanted the beer to taste like this year. Sometimes it is more difficult than you think to really hammer down each nuance of what it is that you want. I wanted some farm house funk, but not a sour or tart beer. I wanted a citrusy hop flavor, but not grapefruit or orange, more lemony. I wanted it medium bodied. Theo listened and asked questions until we hammered down the recipe we wanted.

The idea behind my birthday saison is that the basic recipe for the beer remains the same, but each year a different variation is created for a unique brew. This year’s recipe will be a hoppy saison featuring Pacific Gem hops from New Zealand, and a bit of Zeus hops for aroma.

“It’s fucking hard!”

A photo posted by Theo (@zerodaytheo) on

I arrived at the brewery on a Saturday morning, ready to commit the full day to making my birthday brew. A full day it what it took. After getting the water heated up, Theo pointed to a pile of grain sacks and said ‘there’s your beer, now brew it.’ I ground up all the grain myself, minus the first few bags so I could learn how. I hooked up hoses and nozzles and tubes and clamps. I stirred my wort. I shoveled heavy wet grains out of the mash tun. I measured and added hops. I hooked up more tubes and clamps. Seriously you guys, I brewed this beer myself the hard way.

You betta work! We put Tierney to work today, really brewing it the “hard” way. #TierneyGrainsOut

A video posted by Zeroday Brewing Co. (@zerodaybrewing) on

After grinding the grains around noon I was already exhausted, and I wasn’t even close to finished. To say that my muscles were sore the next day is an understatement. But, despite the physical pain it may have caused my weak arms, getting that tun shoveled out felt so rewarding. Cleaning up at the end of the day knowing that I just put all my day’s effort into making my own beer to share with you all felt amazing. It’s easy to take pride in a product that you personally created with every fiber of your being, sweat and all.

Soon I will go back to transfer Saison 28 from the fermenter to the brite tank. After that, we will keg it. Then, on April 28th, you can drink it. In conjunction with Harrisburg Beer Week, we will be releasing my Saison 28 around 7:30 pm at Zeroday Brewing Company, following the screening of Brewed in the Burg at the Midtown Cinema. I hope that if you can, you will join me for a pint and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Please note that due to capacity restrictions, the release on 4/28 will have limited admission, and will require you to show a ticket stub from the Brewed in the Burg screening at the Midtown Cinema. After 4/28 Saison 28 will continue to be on draft while it lasts.

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