Apprentice Brewer Chelsea Meisner hails from Nova Scotia, Canada and wanted to make a beer that reminded her of home. In Nova Scotia, maple syrup is just as iconic as it is in New Hampshire. For her porter, Chelsea chose Grade B maple syrup for it’s more robust maple flavor. The syrup came from Great Brook Farm Sugar House in Walpole, New Hampshire, a tenth generation family run farm that was established in 1761. The result is the perfect beer to remind us of our fantastic neighbors to the north.
As Chelsea moves on, we raise a toast and hope you enjoy her beer as much as we do.
Words from apprentice brewer Chelsea Meisner
First and foremost you should know I am a serious foodie. I studied Food Science in university and now I am a Product Developer, which means I get to create food products for companies. But beer has always been an important interest of mine too. My parents have been home brewing for over 30 years, so I grew up with it. My earliest memories of beer are sitting on the kitchen floor helping my Mom and Dad bottle or running around with the other kids at the beer fests my parents would organize. As I got older, I became more involved with the brewing process and the science behind it. I did a fourth year thesis on fermentation of different yeasts and even had a summer job working as a Quality Control technician at a big brewery. In the end, I decided to go the route of product development but I’ve continued my beer education by home brewing.
I randomly stumbled across the apprentice program at White Birch while shopping at The Beer Store in Nashua, New Hampshire one afternoon. I was staring at the vast selection of beer unable to make a decision on what I wanted when I started talking to Geoff who was apprenticing at White Birch at that time. He showed me some of the White Birch beers and told me about the program. I was immediately interested. I went home and researched White Birch while drinking a Hooksett Ale. I knew the program was perfect for me and I sent an email to Bill the next day. A couple months later I was standing next to a pallet full of out of date beer that needed to be emptied and Chris handed me a bottle opener. My apprenticeship had begun.
As many of the apprentices have said before me, you learn everything about brewing beer and running a brewery while at White Birch. Any beer nerd would be lucky to get such an experience. You are involved in every part of the brewing process. You also gain hands on knowledge that you will not get at many other beer programs and the icing on the cake is you get to make your own beer at the end.
Porters and stouts are my favorite styles of beer. I like a beer with body and rich flavors. I wanted to have something that reminded me of home (Nova Scotia) in my beer, which is why I went with maple syrup. Yes, I am from the nation to the north and in Nova Scotia maple syrup is just as big a deal as it is here in New England. I wanted to keep it simple and decided to pair the maple syrup with a porter. My Maple Leaf Porter is a great fall and winter beer, but I like to think one can enjoy it all year round.
I would like to thank the entire White Birch Brewing team for giving me the chance to be in their world. It was an opportunity I never expected to find and one that has really helped me gain more knowledge and appreciation for beer. It has sparked my imagination so now my biggest problem is going to be where to put all the homebrew I want to make!
Prost, Chelsea Meisner