Drink This Beer: Reformation Jude
Belgian-style ales are at the heart of what Woodstock’s Reformation Brewery does.
We talked to the crew about the development of their latest canned release, Jude, a Belgian-Style Tripel.
Can you tell us a little about the development of Jude?
It’s an old home brew recipe that we adapted from our friend Clay Mahaffey, who is also an investor and current Chairman on our Board of Directors. It’s a challenging style to brew. There’s a delicate balance between the malt sweetness and dry finish that happens here. Many tripels are on the sweeter side. So we went for a drier finish. We found pitch rate was really important.
You recently changed the name. Why did you do that?
The change in format is really what prompted that discussion, and we took it as an opportunity to rebrand with a new naming convention, introducing a family of beers that dig deeper into our values.
It’s a pretty big beer (9.7%) for a “regular” release. Was that something you were concerned about?
We value moderation, so we’ve been intentional about an emphasis on that. We believe the “why” behind what we drink is as important as what we drink, so we wanted to craft this beer in the context of a thoughtful, meaningful experience. Which is why you’ll see the story of Jude as one that’s looking for that moment of providence, when answers are unknown. Sometimes you can appreciate those moments of transition a little more when you have a Belgian Tripel like Jude in your hand.
You’ve got three Belgian-style beers (Cadence, Union and Jude) in your regular lineup. How does that Belgian style fit in with your branding and brewing philosophy?
We’ve loved European styles from the beginning. They’re what inspired us to start homebrewing. Making beer is like time travel in a way. There’s always some prior knowledge behind it, a lineage, a history. And we’re always trying to pay homage to those old practices, while also crafting something we want to drink and share in this moment. Brewing has a thread of spiritual practice, particularly for those areas in Belgium where you have Trappist styles still dominating today. And our love for that story, and church history in particular, resonates for us in obvious ways. We think those values still have a place and purpose in today’s beer culture.
What can we expect from Reformation in the near future?
Reforming is at the heart of what we do. You can look forward to continued Adventure Release beers in the market. We have some experimental “Hop Expeditions” on draft right now in our Keeping Room we’re playing with, so you will likely see the results of that research make their way into a future release. Our Reformers do love having our Belgian beers together, so we’re looking at putting that combination together in the future.
The Protestant Reformation turns 500 years old this year. It’s also our fourth Anniversary, so we’re celebrating big with a Belgian Quad we’ve named “500” in honor of the historical moment that’s happening world-wide. Look for monthly and grand prize winnings awarded through October this year as part of our “500 Moments” contest.
We’re also looking forward to submissions to the Southern Home Brewer’s Competition this year with Taco Mac (TMAC), and will release the winning brew as part of our Brewery of the Month promotion at all Georgia locations this November.
I’ll be honest. Belgian tripels aren’t really my favorite style. Many, to me, are just too cloying and sweet. However, Jude strikes a nice balance. The malty sweetness is there, but there’s a nice dry finish.