FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia ━ In 2016 Spencer Devon celebrated its first year of existence with a special beer designed to highlight their relationship with the community. This Saison, was made with local honey in order to root the beer to the exact time and place in the community. The traditional farmhouse style of Saison was selected because it is a style normally brewed seasonally and it is known for bearing distinct characteristics in each community. Spencer Devon’s Saison Du Local is brewed each year with a different locally sourced ingredient and given a special release on the birthday of the brewery.
Spencer Devon owner and proprietor Shawn Phillips made the deliberate choice to have a birthday beer that uses local ingredients in order to celebrate the community of Fredericksburg and Virginia as a whole. The beer serves as an annual reminder of Shawn’s commitment to make Spencer Devon a restaurant and brewery that while being supported by the community, turns around to support that same community. This commitment is also seen in Spencer Devon’s partnerships with several local farms. In fact, the kitchen sources over 80% of it protein locally. Furthermore, the brewhouse gives all the spent grain created by the brewing process to Schlund Family Farm of Locust Grove who turns it into the very pork served at Spencer Devon. The deserts at Spencer Devon also showcase the local connection; pies from Fredericksburg’s own, Mandala Pies.
This year Spencer Devon has partnered with Charlottesville based Murphy & Rude Malting to create a one of a kind beer infused with the character of Virginia and the spirit of Fredericksburg. Murphey & Rude Malting provided the entirety of the grain used to create this one-of-a-kind beer. To help Spencer Devon keep the beer as local as possible, Murphy & Rude sourced grain from farms as close to Spencer Devon as they could. The soft winter red wheat used in Saison Du Local was grown a mere 70 miles from the brewery. In a market overwhelmed with imported grain and cross-country freight this kind of statistic is virtually unheard of. A video of the wheat being turned during germination can be viewed on Spencer Devon’s Facebook page.
This is the exact kind of project that Murphy & Rude’s owner and operator, Jeff Bloem, prefers to work on. The malt house blends traditional methods with “adventurous creativity” in the true spirit of the craft beer community to create unique products sourced from Virginian farms. Spencer Devon’s order was the first received by the new Virginian malt house and was hand delivered to Spencer Devon by Jeff himself. While at the brewery Jeff exchanged gifts with the brewers at Spencer Devon and the group sat down to share a pint.
This year’s Saison Du Local was formulated by Spencer Devon’s new head brewer, Trent Wiegers. Trent relocated to Fredericksburg with his wife Amanda for the position at Spencer Devon in January of 2018. Having received a formal brewing education from the Brewing Science Program at South College in Knoxville Tennessee, Tent went on to become a Lead Brewer at Core Brewing and Distilling Co. in Springdale Arkansas. He is looks forward to the opportunity to create great beer at Spencer Devon and get to know the Fredericksburg community.
Trent expressed excitement “that the Saison [Du Local] fits exactly with what Spencer Devon is trying to do as a whole.” That the “farm to plate” movement is “incorporated into the beer, now as grain to glass.” With palpable excitement he described how his goal for future versions of the Saison Du Local is, “to be entirely local. Grain and hops, maybe even yeast, which would be amazing.”
Saison Du Local will go on Tap for Spencer Devon’s third birthday, April 1st 2018. This year only, in addition to the standard release, Spencer Devon is also releasing a one-time vertical tasting of the first three batches of Saison Du local. For $25 customers can purchase a flight that contains three 10oz pours. The flight includes this year’s release featuring local malt, last year’s release containing local blackberries, and the inaugural release made with local honey. Limited quantities are available on a first come first serve basis.