Digging Deeper into Our Exploratory Series: “Dora”
In case you haven’t gotten the joke yet, yes, we named our exploratory series of beer after a children’s cartoon. It’s a pretty great show with classic characters such as Swiper, and the Map (who has a great jingle every time he comes out of the backpack, who amazingly, also has a fun jingle!) The show is full of great jingles and a super weird 4th wall breaking audience-Dora communication sequences, or long awkward silences if you choose not to partake in the built in interaction sequences. So yeah, if you haven’t noticed, we’ve watched an episode or two and we were inspired by Dora’s fearless approach to exploration and adventure and we wanted to do something just as exploratory and adventurous with our beer. Thus, the creation of our much beloved “Dora” series.
The point of this blog is to communicate to you, the drinker, what our goals, aspirations and expectations are for the Dora series as a whole (and if you’re one of the 7 people who have ever read the blog, then you will also have noticed that we’ve gotten pretty bad at communicating through the blog regularly, but I promise we are trying to improve that!)
There have already been several different entries in the “Dora” series (8 to be exact now!) that we’ve unleashed upon the world and they all look at any number of different things. We’re not going to rehash that too much here, but Dora #1 was focusing on water changes (specifically the actual mineral additions we used to get to our profile) and Dora #2 looked at using crystal malts as a way to increase perceived sweetness in our IPAs while drying out the body of the beer much lower than is typical in your average hazy juice bomb, #3 looked at leaving the finishing gravity of the beer unusually high, while #5 let us look at using a very unique yeast for IPA production and now that we’re at #8 we’re playing around with our malt base looking at simplifying/streamlining it and using some more expressive options.
In short, the “Dora” series is a free pass to try anything we want with the sole intention of learning and growing as brewers and applying any delicious discoveries to future beers outside the series. So with all that out of the way. Let’s talk Dora.
What is Dora?
We created the series as a way for us to explore a wide breadth of ingredient and process modifications that we think can improve our beer as a whole. There really is no limit to what we think fits under the umbrella of Dora. In general terms, we’ll be mostly looking at ingredient or process variables. This can be as simple as adding crystal malt to our typical pale malt bill, or something more drastic like experimenting with wine yeast, grape must, weird beer blending and much more. It all depends what curiosity itch we need to scratch at that particular point in time (Dora will also become drastically more exploratory once we have our bottle shop operational, as we will be able to produce beers that don’t need to necessarily be pale and hoppy).
The important thing about the series is that we release what we have made (assuming it wasn’t a complete disaster… We’ll just dump those ones) with information about what we have done. That way you, the consumer, also get to experience, and provide feedback, if you are so inclined, on whether you think these changes are positive/negative or achieve whatever our stated goal was (if there even is one) when we created the recipe. Think of it as a way for us to scratch curiosity itches, while also hopefully improving ourselves as beer makers, and subsequently also providing you with an opportunity to do the same, but as beer drinkers. We may not always dive deep into the exact details of the changes, but we will always, at the very least, allude to the changes in broad general terms.
What’s Next for Dora?
We’ve just released Dora #7 ! You can find it at Jane Bond, The Bent Elbow, Arabella, and WVRST at some point in the future (keep an eye on our insta stories for updates and/or the establishment most local to you to find our when it will be going on).
The point of Dora #7 was to radically alter our typical malt bill. For the most part, we have our Pale Ale, IPA, DIPA grain bills that vary a bit, but by and large are roughly the same percentages of the same grains. There are modifications here and there depending on the beer but I would consider them pretty minor overall.
Dora #7 sees us build a completely new malt bill with new percentages of new grains that we’ve loved in other beers and we thought we’d give them a try here. Overall, we’re pretty happy with how this experiment turned out! The beer comes off a little sweeter (though it is, from an analytics point of view, the same finishing gravity as usual), and a little bolder on the palate with some light honey, and crackery notes, while also being slightly more full bodied, soft and viscous.
We think this particular malt bill is a great platform to showcase fruit forward hops on and, dare I say it, it may very well be one of our favorite malt bills we’ve tried in an IPA. That being said, we won’t be switching all our beers over to this particular malt profile moving forward (honestly from a cost perspective it would tighten our already extremely, extremely tight profit margins), but you can be sure we’ll be building a brand or two around it sometime in the future!