Fabian Beller, better known around the brewery as Fabi or maybe The German, hails from a small village called Schemmerhofen in south west Germany. After graduating high school there he completed a fifteen month internship at a brewery in Memmingen. He then attended the brewing academy at Weihenstephan, which is the oldest brewing academy in the world, where he graduated in March 2012 as a Diplombraumeister, TU. He then started his brewing career back at his old brewery in Memmingen. Only a couple of months later he got a job offer to work for Sixpoint Craft Ales out of Brooklyn, NY. So he moved to America in October 2013 working in Wilkes-Barre, PA where Sixpoint produced most of their beers. During the next couple of months the company grew a lot and found space in Memphis to produce their beer. So Fabi moved to memphis in March 2014 continuing to work for Sixpoint, dialing in the recipes and producing the beer. At the end of 2015, after hearing a lot of WISEACRE and spending time in the taproom, he sent a resume to Davin and Kellan. He received a quick answer from them, interviewed and worked a day in the brewhouse. It was decided that Fabian would be hired. But due to visa regulations Fabian had to move back home to Germany for a little over four months. Upon his return in 2016 he began an internship with WISEACRE. It went well and thus Fabi became our newest German-est employee.
Now lets talk about beer!
A few months after interning in the cellar and brewhouse Fabian brewed his first beer for WISEACRE, what else than a traditional German Hefewiezen, Second Banana. He used 100% German malts and over 50% of this was Wheat malt. Together with the Hefeweizen yeast, a well balanced and refreshing beer was produced. The first sip delivers a pure banana flavor and aroma which is produced by the yeast during fermentation, followed by a mild clove flavored finish. He created this recipe and used a step mash in the process to prove to us that he is indeed German. Mashing, in general, is one of the first steps in brewing. Mashing activates enzymes in the grain to convert its starches into other products like sugars and dextrins. Certain enzymes are active at different temperatures and each one does a specific job. In step mashing, the temperature is raised and held in steps to activate certain enzymes and let them do their thing, thus controlling the types of products that are broken down and created in each step. These products created will all affect the finished beer i.e. alcohol content and an awesome silky texture.
Second Banana eventually went through bottle conditioning aka secondary fermentation, which is a traditional way of naturally carbonating the beer. Fabian explains a bit about the process:
“The idea behind is to add a calculated amount of wort, the so called Speise to the already fermented beer and bottle it right away. That way the still existing yeast gets some more food to produce CO which gets dissolved into the liquid where it partially converts into carbon acid. The biggest difference is that the natural produced co2 is finer and causes a more pleasant mouthfeel than the artificial co2. A second advantage is the fact that the risk of loosing all the sensitive banana aromas is much lower with the bottle conditioning than if you would carbonate it in the tank”
To get to know Fabi a little better we asked him some very important personal questions:
What do you like about beer?
The most I love about beer is that you can produce a high quality product with all natural ingredients. With easy things like changing temperatures, the pH or just time you can completely change the character of the beer. It’s impressive to me that you can produce several hundred or even thousand different styles and varieties of beer just out of 4 base ingredients. And due to the fact that brewers can produce so many different beers there should be a beer for everybody’s taste.
Best beer / worst beer (style or specific beer)?
Best Hefeweizen: Jakob Hefeweizen out of a small town called Bodenwöhr.
Best Pilsener: Augustiner Pils.
Worst beer: [ expletive 😉 ]
Favorite pizza topping combination?
Ham, Salami, Bacon, Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms and a lot of cheese.
Where did you go to Elementary school?
I went to Elementary school in my hometown or better said village named Schemmerhofen, Germany.
What sorts of obscure things are you into?
I do love to go mudding with my 4wheeler. I have a souped up Honda Rancher 420 with ITP Mud Lights on SS aloi rims, a seat on the back rack and speakers on the front rack. Pictures available if needed lol.
What happened when you were the drunkest you have ever been?
Oh boy. It was several years ago. I had an test at university and it was a day before my birthday. It also was the last test for the semester. I met a couple friends at my fraternity’s house and we normally have a lot of beer there. I also bought a bottle of Vodka and Red Bull. So we just started drinking beer and kept drinking and drinking and all the sudden it was midnight and we opened the vodka. After the first glass of vodka bull I was so drunk that I grabbed a glass from the counter I thought it would be water but someone filled it up with Vodka and I just chugged it. My former roommate took me then home. On the way home we passed a bar which had a great dry hopped Hefeweizen and he told me that we have to go there and have one last beer there. So we went in there ordered and as soon as we got our beers they told us that they were about to close and we would have to empty that one right away. I can’t remember how we got home at all. My roommate neither. The next morning my grandma called me at 7:30 in the morning and as soon as I picked up the phone I had to rush to the restroom because I had to through up. The bad part I forgot to hang up and my grandma yelled at me why I drank that much again. I was so damaged that my stomach couldn’t even hold water for the next 6 hours without getting rid of it right away again. Around noon even our neighbors were complaining about the ugly sound. Friends took me to the movies later that day and I still was so hung over that I only could drink water in small sips and my body was freezing and seconds later I was burning up.