Continuing their annual tradition, Montclair Brewery is releasing a new Black History Month inspired craft beer series. This year’s series includes the Aubrey Ale, brewed to honor Montclair’s local icon, Aubrey Lewis Sr., and the ThomSank Independence Ale, in honor of Thomas Sankara, Burkina Faso’s former president and leader. These drinks (along with a few other limited release surprises) will be available in its taproom and through limited distribution partners in New Jersey.
“Each year we pay tribute to Black History Month through our brews, and I am so excited to get to do it again,” says general manager and co-owner Denise Ford Sawadogo. “I personally knew and was inspired by Aubrey Lewis Sr. early in my career, when I was a member and board member of the Black Retail Action Group (BRAG), which he co-founded.”
Aubrey Lewis Sr. lived in Montclair his entire life, starting his impressive athletic career at Montclair High School in 1950, which then continued into college where he was the first African American to be a sports captain at Notre Dame University. After his athletic career, Lewis, Senior, remained a trailblazer being a member of the first integrated FBI class, Vice President at Woolworths Corp, co-founder of Black Retail Action Group (BRAG), and a member of many other boards. This Brown Ale to honor him is both sweet and nutty with notes of caramel, honey, and toasted bread.
Thomas Sankara was a charismatic leader whose mission was to transform Burkina Faso into a self-sufficient, independent country. Sankara, also known as Che Guevara of Africa, rebuilt the economy, the policies, and created many opportunities for his country. This experimental ale incorporates red sorghum, an ingredient traditionally used in African beers, and baobab, a West African fruit with many health benefits. The ThomSank Independence Ale is expected to be rosé colored and full-bodied with a crisp finish.
“I spent a lot of time developing the ThomSank Independence Ale. It was important for me to create a recipe that includes traditional African ingredients which is a big part of what Sankara was all about. I can’t wait for everyone to try it,” states head brewer and co-owner, Leo Sawadogo.
Montclair Brewery will also have a can release of the Black Mamba Black Lager, in honor of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. Black Mamba Black Lager was first released last year on August 24th, International Kobe Bryant Day, on draught only. This brew was created in honor of basketball star, Kobe Bryant, who was nicknamed “Black Mamba” during his career. Black Mamba Black Lager has the appearance of a stout or porter with the light drinkability of a lager. This year, Montclair Brewery is giving it its own special can design that will be available in late February or early March in the taproom and through partnered bottle shops and restaurants.
In addition to these new beers entering Montclair Brewery’s Black History Month beer series, several existing beers connected to the series will be highlighted month-long. The existing beers include Black is Beautiful Stout with baobab, Baobiere Golden Ale with baobab, Kingston Porter, the Motherland sorghum-based, gluten-free beer, and several others.
“February is an exciting time for us. We get to amplify our efforts to highlight important icons from the African diaspora such as Aubrey Lewis Sr., Kobe Bryant, Thomas Sankara, and others. I get a lot of joy out of researching and reviewing potential heroes to honor” adds Denise.
AleSmith, Pizza Port team up on double dry-hopped Beach Run
AleSmith Brewing Company is joining forces with fellow SoCal brewery Pizza Port Brewing Company to release Beach Run, a double dry-hopped West Coast-style IPA. Brewed with generous amounts of Australian and North American hops, the collaborative release will be available through the month of February in 16-oz. can 4-packs.
Brimming with tropical fruit notes and citrus aromas, Beach Run is packed with a unique blend of Enigma, Cashmere and Sabro hops. Enigma hops take center stage within this hoppy brew, complete with hints of berry and stone fruit aromas. Paired with Cashmere’s fruity overtones and hints of citrus and coconut accents from Sabro hops, this juicy IPA is ready for the next beach run of your own!
“We’re stoked to partner with our pals at Pizza Port Brewing Company to release this hop forward West Coast-style IPA,” states Ryan Crisp, Head Brewer at AleSmith. “Teaming up with a brewery that shares our passion for hops always makes for a fun and exciting experience,” Crisp adds.
Our Mutual Friend with four killer collaborations this month
Our Mutual Friend Brewing is releasing three new collaboration beers with, you guessed it, mutual brewery friends this month, including a West Coast and Hazy hybrid IPA, Saison with buckwheat and wildflower honey, and Barrel-Fermented Wild IPA.
“I met the head brewer of Attitude Brewing, Alvaro, in 2016 in Brazil while brewing a collab with our friend Gustavo of Koala San Brew,” says OMF Head Brewer Jan Chodkowski. “Last year at GABF, Attitude won a medal in the Juicy/Hazy category and we won a medal for International Pale Ale, so of course we decided to brew something hoppy for this collaboration.”
At 7.6% ABV, Fate Map is a collaboration among old friends. Brewed with Attitude Brewing out of San Diego, the IPA utilizes a combination of West Coast and Juicy/Hazy techniques. Brewed with Colorado Chinook, Amarillo and Mosaic hops, Fate Map has big citrus and tropical notes, dank aromas and an approachable, lighter body. Fate Map will be available on draft and in four-pack 16-ounce cans on Friday, February 11 at OMF.
There’s also Greatness is Transitory, a collaboration beer with Station 26 Brewing Co. It’s a Barrel-Fermented Wild India Pale Ale that is brewed with Colorado malts, and hopped with Colorado Cashmere hops, as well as El Dorado and Strata hops. The 7.4% ABV Wild IPA is a departure from OMF’s typical IPA and Wild beers because the duo designed the recipe to highlight the malt, hop and yeast character of the beer.
“In a normal Barrel-Fermented Wild Ale, the yeast is usually the major contributor to the overall character of the beer,” says Chodkowski. “With this beer we wanted the yeast to impart some flavor but tried to push the recipe in a direction so that the yeast would enhance the hop character first.”
The result is a hoppy beer with mild wild yeast and oak character, making the beer extremely unique but also smooth and enjoyable. Greatness is Transitory will be available on draft and in 500-milliliter bottles at OMF and Station 26 on Friday, February 18.
Yellow Vibrations, OMF’s collaboration with Perennial Artisan Ales out of St. Louis, is a Saison that’s brewed with buckwheat and wildflower honey and Callista and Hüll Melon Hops. This 5.8% ABV crowd-pleaser has notes of pear and honey, as well as orange citrus, anise and pineapple aromas.
Schlafly stouts at center stage of rejuvenated Stout & Oyster Festival
Schlafly Beer is bringing back its Schlafly Stout & Oyster Festival on March 25 and March 26. The event is the largest of its kind in the Midwest, flying in over 80,000 oysters overnight from both coasts and brewing more than 15 stouts exclusively for the popular festival.
“It’s been two years since we’ve been able to host Stout & Oyster Festival and we could not be more excited to welcome guests back for our most popular beer festival of the year,” says CEO Fran Caradonna. “We look forward to welcoming our friends in the community as well as our cast of shuckers from all over the country to the Tap Room to enjoy great times, laughs and great beer.”
The Schlafly brewing team will bring back its Stout Sampler with rotating specialty stouts throughout the weekend such as: Tabasco Stout, Red Hot Riplet Stout, Chocolate Cherry Stout, Maplewood Coffee Stout featuring La Cosecha coffee, St. Charles Coffee Stout featuring Course coffee and more.
Heavy Seas debuts the Brewer’s Choice Series
Heavy Seas Beer is celebrating the creativity of its crew with a series of taproom-exclusive draft only releases brewed in the 15 Barrel Brewhouse.
“We’re kicking off the series on Friday, February 25th with the release of Sir Dudley’s Handsome XSB (Extra Special Bitter) and a Brewer’s Choice Happy Hour. This nutty, earthy and palatable, proper pint will be available exclusively at the Heavy Seas Taproom,” the brewery tells us. In the traditional English style, this beer will be served via nitro pour as well as hand pulled directly from the cask. A carbonated version will also be offered to take home in crowlers and growlers.
A portion of the night’s proceeds will go towards the medical expenses of someone close to the Heavy Seas crew.