The CBB team was in Denver for the Craft Brewers Conference last week, and during that time the beer news kept piling up. It piled up so high, why, you could mistake it for a Rocky Mountain! And that would be a super clever observation if it weren’t so tragically true. The pile was indeed so high that people tried climbing it (me specifically). As it all came crashing down, I was saved by these five beers to know this week.
And please, pay no attention to speculation that these beers were “lazily tugged from the bottom of the pile,” thus initiating the collapse.
Thirsty Monk’s Grace Sour Blend is awesome — part collaboration with Crooked Stave, part debut of an exciting new barrel house and sour program
We were among the first to try Thirsty Monk’s Grace Sour Blend at its debut during the Craft Brewers Conference last week. It was seriously great (as was their Brut IPA and their low-calorie Monk Lite) and is a true showcase of the skills that Thirsty Monk Head Brewer Brian Grace has accumulated working at sour beer powerhouses like Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Jolly Pumpkin.
Grace Sour Blend is a blended sour comprised of barrel and foudre-aged beers brewed and cellared by Grace during his three years as Head Brewer at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. In collaboration with Crooked Stave, he has now hand selected them for the blending of this first creation in what will be the Grace Sour Blend series.
“I still keep in touch with the team at Crooked Stave including several collaborations since my departure,” explained Grace. “I was discussing with Crooked Stave owner and Brewmaster Chad Yakobson about how Thirsty Monk is in need of barrel-aged sour offerings while our beers continue to age at The Woodshed. Chad suggested I create a blend with barrel-aged beers in their cellar that I brewed while working there.”
So what’s different about this blend versus beers he created in his tenure at Crooked Stave? The blending. Grace wasn’t in charge of the blending at Crooked Stave, which is an artform unto itself and dictates so much about the flavor profile.
“As far as the flavor goes I had a clean slate and wasn’t required to make a blend that needed to taste like any other beer,” explained Grace. “So I spent a few days tasting through their cellar, exploring the different flavors of barrels (including gin, wine and foeder aged barrels) and came up with a unique blend just for Thirsty Monk.”
Grace Sour Blend is burgundy in color, with aromas of red wine, leathery Brettanomyces, oak and a light berry bouquet. Flavors swim in a medley of berry fruit and skins, red wine, mild oak and a balanced Brettanomyces funk. The care Grace took in hand selecting this blend is evident in its smooth complexity, showcasing a new direction that the Thirsty Monk family is excited to explore and add to its well rounded beer list.
This project comes after the announcement of Thirsty Monk’s newly developed barrel house, The Woodshed in Denver. This barrel aging facility currently houses Thirsty Monk’s budding sour beer program featuring two foeders and a diverse selection of wine and spirit barrels for which Grace is brewing black, burgundy and golden base, inoculated with wild yeast and bacteria before the addition of fruit, and eventual blending and bottle conditioning.
We are going to explore the Thirsty Monk business model more at some point soon. While you wait, please head out and find this beer.
Rocket Frog Brewing is making the best double IPA you don’t know about (and now sending it to Delaware)
Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s spring seasonal Alchemy Hour was my first double IPA love. I still remember that first sip. I’ve had it (now known as Chill Wave) and a million other double IPAs since, but none have ever quite matched that memory of the first sip of Alchemy Hour. … until I tried Angry Angry Alice from Sterling, Va.-based Rocket Frog Brewing Co. It’s everything you want a double IPA to taste like, which matches the philosophy of its head brewer, Russell Carpenter, who has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. We chatted with him at the CBC, and it’s clear he is focused on style perfection instead of chasing trends.
Well, heads up Delaware, because you will be the first state that Rocket Frog will be sending Angry Angry Alice on draft along with its award-winning Wallops Island Brown Ale (2018 Great American Beer Festival bronze medal winner) and cans of a session IPA Paper Wings, Kai Gose to the Beach, and Silversun, an American IPA.
“We could not be more excited to enter the Delaware market,” said Founder David Hartogs. “We have longstanding ties to the state and are happy to make Delaware our first out-of-market entry. My wife and majority owner Jennifer Showell-Hartogs was born and raised in Long Neck, and twenty percent of the LLC lives in various parts of Delaware today. Our taproom manager was born and raised in Wilmington, and six of our shareholders are graduates of the University of Delaware.”
“We love working with local family-owned craft breweries who are ready to enter our state,” said Marc Steiman of Delaware distributore Bottle & Brew Selections. “Rocket Frog has a full selection of tasty beers, attractive packaging and a true family spirit.”
Patagonia Provisions, Hopworks brew a wit with a sustainable grain
Patagonia Provisions, in partnership with Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) in Portland, just released Long Root Wit, a classic Belgian-style wit beer made with organic ingredients and Kernza perennial grain. Looking for solutions to repair our food systems, this second release in the lineup of Provisions’ Long Root beers represents another step towards transforming agricultural practices and supporting sustainable farming.
In 2016, Patagonia Provisions’ partners at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas made a breakthrough in organic regenerative agriculture with Kernza, the perennial grain used in Patagonia Provisions’ inaugural beer Long Root Pale Ale. Released in October 2016, it was the first commercially available beer made with Kernza.
A refreshing, very drinkable low ABV (4.9 percent) witbier, Long Root Wit is made with organic wheat, two-row barley from Oregon’s Klamath Falls, and Northwest hops. Flavors of honey, crisp apple, Valencia orange, and pink peppercorn shine while subtle aromas of pear, coriander, marmalade, and toast round out this après-sport beer; and the addition of 15 percent Kernza adds a slight spiciness. Long Root Wit is produced with Hard Red Wheat from HUB’s certified organic wheat family farm on the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state.
Patagonia Provisions chose Hopworks Urban Brewery to create its Long Root beers due to its strong commitment to organics and sustainable brewing practices. Hopworks, experts in organic beer, is a B Corporation and is on a mission to revolutionize the brewing industry for the better.
More on Kernza
Kernza is ideally suited for organic regenerative agriculture. Its long roots and perennial growth allow it to thrive without pesticides and use less water than conventional wheat while helping to reduce erosion and remove more carbon from the atmosphere. And it just so happens to make delicious beer. Patagonia Provisions believes the future of farming, and our planet, lies in regenerative organic agriculture — a practice that restores soil biodiversity, sequesters carbon and grows crops all without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. In early 2018, Patagonia, along with Patagonia Provisions, Rodale Institute, Dr. Bronner’s, and others launched the Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) outlining robust, high-bar standards for ensuring soil health and animal and worker welfare. Long Root Wit is Provisions’ latest example of taking steps towards this goal.
“I am very excited to introduce our second beer made with Kernza,” says Birgit Cameron, managing director of Patagonia Provisions. “Through Wes Jackson’s pioneering work at The Land Institute, Patagonia Provisions has been able to help bring this important regenerative perennial grain to the forefront with the hope that others take notice and implement similar practices. Beer is the perfect vehicle for this and a delicious byproduct of our collaborative work in regenerative agricultural practices.”
Deep Ellum makes a delightful summer seasonal
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. has released its crisp, pleasantly spiced summer seasonal, Deep Summer Ale, for distribution throughout the state of Texas on draft and in six-packs of 12-oz cans.
Deep Summer Ale is brewed with hibiscus, lemon peel and chamomile flowers. At 4.8 percent ABV, it’s a crushable brew made for poolside parties, barbecuing by the lake, floating the river, jamming at music fests or just chillin’ on the porch. Deep Summer Ale is deeply refreshing and pairs perfectly with any sun-soaked summertime activity.
“With a massive dose of hibiscus flowers and lemon peel, Deep Summer packs a ton of fresh flavor into a surprisingly crushable ale,” said Deep Ellum brewer Kyle Willborn. “A light dose of hops complement the late addition of dried hibiscus to give the beer a unique pinkish hue. Paired with a backbone of Vienna malt, this brew is a perfect refreshment for a Texas summer.”
Deep Summer Ale is available throughout Texas where great craft beer is sold; and at both Deep Ellum Brewing Company locations — the original Dallas brewery and the new Funkytown Fermatorium in Fort Worth.
Garage Brewing Co. continues to proudly support Pink Boots Society with this Red IPL
In early March the Temecula/Murrieta based brewery participated in the non-profit’s 2019 Collaboration Brew Day for the third year in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
“Girls rock! How important is it to have women in the craft beer industry? Extremely important,” Laura Ulrich, Pink Boots Society’s president said via email. “We want diversity in our beer and we also want it in our business. We have great palates, amazing beer knowledge and we make some really great beer.”
A group of several women involved in the craft beer industry — helmed by Garage Brewing Co.’s microbiologist Maurine Frey — gathered at the brewery’s main production facility to whip up Hop ‘N Boots, a Red India Pale Lager.
“I love how we all come from different paths which means we all bring something different to the brewing process,” Frey said. “Relationships and friendships are formed with people we might not have met.”
The collab brew was dry hopped and carries tropical fruit and dank notes thanks to Yakima Chief’s Pink Boots blend featuring Loral, Glacier, Mosaic, Simcoe and Sabro hops. It’s clean, straightforward and super drinkable with big hop aromas.
Hop ‘N Boots will be available on draft at Garage Brewing Co.’s brewpub/taproom and at various bars and restaurants throughout Southern California beginning April 19.
Garage Brewing will donate 50 percent of proceeds of on-premise sales of Hop ‘N Boots to Pink Boots Society. At Garage Brewing’s brewpub in Old Town Temecula, pints of this brew will be specially priced at $5 per pint with 50 percent of proceeds donated to PBS.
Pink Boots Society’s mission is to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education and Garage Brewing Co. wholeheartedly supports that mission!