Back inda day there was a bike race team out of Texas and Southern California that dominated masters bike racing. It was called “Labor Power.” The team’s mantra was “gritty not pretty.” Their official mission was to win for journeyman unionists suffering from lung-killing asbestosis. Their real crusade was to “pound the pecker headed pretenders with impunity purely for the sake of pleasure.”
Labor Power cultivated a reputation for going hard at what they loved, sometimes even too hard. They thrashed, slashed and bashed, whatever it took to win. And win they did: over 500 races from 1995 to 2008.
The team realized that in order to mount the top spot of the podium, you had to be willing to train deftly, defy authority, sacrifice personal glory, take risks and suffer nobly. The team understood that the enemy was not external – no, it was that internal voice that preached paralytic prudence.
In the spirit of taking a chance and getting it right, Worthy Brewing’s pleased to introduce Labor Power Red Lager, our foray into the “looks easy but it’s not” world of red lagers. It’s a dark reddish lager that’s malted richly and hopped just right with Ultra, a rare noble hop progeny that was developed by our hero, Al Haunold, back in 1995.
We brewed our red lager on our pilot system as part of our “Heart and Soul” series. In a word, it tastes great. Spicy fragrance. Zesty and robust mouthfeel. Balanced bitter-sweet flavor. And a smooth, creamy finish that excites the tip of the tongue. At 5.8% ABV, this is an “upstream lager.” Most industrial lagers fuss and muss around a barely perceptible 9-11% IBU. Labor comes in at a swarthy 48 IBU that lives up to it’s namesake’s full-throated motto of “Pounding Idiots.”
Truly, Labor Power Lager is ready now to graduate to the Mothership 30 barrel system and then go straight to cans or bottles. But “good nuff” doesn’t cut it around here. We want to play with a few ingredients before taking it to market. Chad’s got a few ideas.
Besides the euro-inspired hoppiness, what I really like about our red lager is … is… it’s virility. It’s alive. No really. It’s unfiltered. There’s a mish mash of proteins and yeast fragments floating around in there that are still working there magic. The taste profile has providently changed in the few days since it’s release. If you like the idea of probiotics – living bacteria that purportedly bring peace to the gut – you’ll love our red lager that keeps on lagering.
Worthy likes this style. We like it so much we’re going to keep tinkering with it. Our mission: a crisp, refreshing drinkable red lager that’s spiced to perfection. Yes, crafties love lagers but oftentimes are forced by economics to stick with the ales. Lagers take up precious tank space and occupy it for about 2 -3 times longer than most ales. But the mission is worthy and besides which we just ordered two more 120 barrel fermenters. Keep drinking our beer, and we’ll keep buying more tanks.
It’s no secret Labor Power, the bike team, was dedicated to honoring the hard working men and women who helped win our wars and build this great country, but in so doing were poisoned by asbestos. Stay tuned for our Local 36 Red Lager, a beer we’re working on to honor the asbestos insulators union in Portland, Oregon, who back in 1990 hired me to represent their workers against the purveyors of the wicked white powder…
By Roger Worthington, Worthy Brewing & Labor Power