Meaning “rustic” or “country” beer in Lithuanian, “Kaimiškas Alus” is a general term given to all farmhouse ales in the region, regardless of their color or the ingredients used. Generally, however, their common uniting theme is that these beers are all “raw” ales, meaning that the wort was not boiled.
This likely originated due to pragmatism or thriftiness and led to farmhouse brewers instead adding heated stones to ground malt and water to encourage the conversion of the malts and acquire some additional caramelized flavors upon contact. 🇱🇹 🪨 🍺
Always up for a challenge, Trevor Livingstone has emulated this obscure and historical technique at Livingstone Brewing. His homage to the Kaimiškas Alus is made entirely with Quebec ingredients and fermented with a strain of yeast called Javoru yeast, originally cultivated from the house yeast of Javoru brewery in Lithuania, which has been running since the mid-19th century. Like the traditional Lithuanian farmhouse beers, it too was made raw, with the wort being transferred straight to the fermenter where a hop tea and the yeast were added. 🌱 🌾
The result is wholly unique, and I have never tasted something quite like it. It opens with a very herbal, grassy nose, and you really get that hop tea coming through on top of some very rustic cereal undertones. It’s surprisingly sweet on the palate with some distinct caramelized malt notes accompanying some lightly fruity esters. Despite all this caramel sweetness, though, it stays light and fresh due to a slight acidic tang and a persistent touch of smoke which lingers through to the finish, which once again wraps up with some herbal hop tea notes. 🌿 🍮💨
It’s beers like this that remind me why I love what Livingstone brings to the Quebec scene, offering unique beer experiences we’d be hard-pressed to find without traveling to the middle of nowhere halfway across the world! 🤤 🌎
Originally from England, Mike Davis came to Quebec ten years ago to study history. During this time he fell in love with the microbreweries of Quebec, which reminded him of English pubs. Now, he holds a Ph.D in History from McGill University, but works in the beer world as the Brand Ambassador for Microbrasserie 4 Origines.