Inside Look at the Making of Phoenix Bat’s First Beer: Hometown Helles

Creating the Perfect Baseball Beer

It doesn’t get much better than taking in a game during the summer months with a cold one in hand. That’s why we are teaming up with the Colorado-based Fort Collins Brewery to bring you the best hot dog companion in the game. The beer is called Hometown Helles, a limited-edition lager born from innovations in craft brewing. FCB will be putting our bats directly into the fermenting lager to improve the maturation and flavor of the beer. To give you further insight into this collaboration, we sat down with the FCB master brewing team. Here are the details you should know.

Hometown Helles

The Beer Craftsmen

Forts Collins Brewery is a family-owned microbrewery in Northern Colorado. They have created 50 unique flavors, and they distribute their beer throughout the United States. Your local store might even have one or all of their four full-time brews: 1020 Pale Ale, Rocky Mountain IPA, Red Banshee, or Chocolate Stout. Look them up, and you’ll find thousands of rave reviews from craft beer enthusiasts.

Sportsmanship: From the Field to the Brewery

Seeing a parallel between the camaraderie of the sport and the teamwork involved in the brewing process, FCB’s brewers were inspired to try something a bit different – crafting a baseball beer brewed with wooden baseball bats. They began looking for sponsors, and were drawn to Phoenix Bats.

FCB explained our selection, “We loved that the company began in a small shop and had some of our same ideals. Phoenix Bats offers high-quality, consistent products and as a family-owned company, and we also take great pride in never compromising the standard of our product or the values on which we operate.”

We were inclined to agree, so we green-lighted FCB’s master brewers, and provided the bats that would be essential to the beverage.

Bat-Enhanced Brewing

For those outside of the craft beer scene, you should know that wood chips are added during brewing for better flavor and brew quality. In the case of the Phoenix beer, FCB used entire bats for the brewing. Our maple bats were put directly into the fermenter where the yeast would land on the wood, creating more surface area for the beer, thus improving the maturation process. Each batch takes about 5 weeks to produce, and the brewers must carefully monitor the fermentation to ensure the proper flavor. As the FCB team put it, “Phoenix bats became part of this beer’s heart and soul!”

Hometown Helles

Hometown Helles Is Born

FCB decided on a lager pitched with traditional German lager yeast. The beer is aptly named Hometown Helles, meant to invoke the feeling of the home game, freshly cut grass, a well-worn glove, and a tight-knit team. It is a Munich Helles Lager, a beer style first popularized in Germany in the 1800’s, now one of the most popular beer styles in the world. “Helles” is German for “bright/pale” due to its clear and golden appearance, and this particular brew has medium body with a mild bready/malt flavor and a touch of spicy hop bitterness. Hometown Helles is a limited release beer, so drink it while supplies last!

How to Find It

If this article made you thirsty, note that this beer will be available on draft only at Average Joe’s locations in Ohio. It will also be available at several Old Chicago locations across Colorado as part of FCB’s baseball tour series. Also, you can find FCB’s other beers in and around Columbus, OH by using the Beer Finder app on their website. http://fortcollinsbrewery.com/brews/beer-finder/. Hometown Helles is not the only great beer they have available so be sure to check it out!

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