Cincinnati’s Urban Artifact says it didn’t set out to create the world’s most expensive (and fruitiest) fermented beverage, but here we are. Meet the decadent Astronaut Food Blackberry & Blueberry.
“We love to explore, to pursue our creativity in innovative ways and reward the curious drinker,” says Bret Kollmann Baker, one of the brewery’s co-owners., “We’ve brewed beers with Yellow Mombin, an exotic fruit that only grows in the Amazon Rainforest; with Durian, the world’s stinkiest fruit; and the previously illegal purple-hulled Mangosteen.” These fruits command a high price, but none cost more than fruit that has been freeze-dried.
Astronaut Food is a Fruit Tart made with over 1,000 lbs of freeze-dried blackberries and blueberries. It takes roughly 11 pounds of fresh fruit to produce one pound of freeze-dried fruit, which creates the high price tag. The resulting fruit-dense Fruit Tart clocks in at an out-of-this-world cost of over $1,111 per barrel; and that’s just in ingredients. The average beer costs around $75 per barrel, wine is approximately $100. Even most spirits are around $500 per barrel after distillation.
“When we first came up with the idea for Astronaut Food, it wasn’t about the price. Our best ideas come from separating ourselves from constraints, and, in doing so, the question became how we could possibly fit more fruit in a can,” Baker continues. “We realized that the limitation wasn’t in the amount of fruit we could buy. It was because there’s too much water in fresh fruit.” Their answer became instantly clear: remove the water, and you can add a lot more fruit than before.
With this epiphany, the brewery set out to source and make the world’s fruitiest, and most expensive, fermented beverage in the world— Astronaut Food. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Tart is intense, packing more fruit per drop than any other beverage in the world. It also comes in at an astounding 15% ABV due to the high sugar content of the fruit. Urban Artifact ferments that sugar out into a balanced, tart product that showcases the real fruit.
Even more astounding, the Artifact team isn’t pricing it anywhere near what they could have.
“One thing we’ve always believed,” Scotty Hunter, the brewery’s CFO, adds, “is that great drinks don’t need to be greatly expensive for you to enjoy. We could have easily charged $100 per 4-pack or more, but at the end of the day we want more people to enjoy our Fruit Tarts. At only $30 for a four pack of eight-ounce cans, it’s a hell of a deal. Our Fruit Tarts are designed to reward the curious and to cost no more than they need to.”
Urban Artifact’s newest batch of Blackberry Blueberry Astronaut Food Blackberry & Blueberry is available now. It will be available at the brewery’s Northside taproom, on their online store, and in select retailers.
Cartridge Brewing with its second specialty bottle release
Maineville, Ohio’s Cartridge Brewing is introducing its second big time bottle release, MOTTO: STRENGTH THROUGH SUPPORT, a Bourbon Barrel-aged Coffee Imperial Stout (10.6% ABV, 50 IBU) that uses Brazilian coffee beans courtesy of local partner Seven Hills Coffee Roasters.
“I think the thing that really takes this beer to the next level is that we paired it up with this really beautiful medium-roast,” says Adam Mills, head brewer. “It has that fresh-bag-of-coffee aromatic, which perfectly complements the elemental bourbon notes of caramel and vanilla. They play off each other so well, helping enhance the fullness of the beer while keeping it sweet, nutty and drinkably smooth.”
Like others in the Cartridge MOTTO series, the new bottle salutes a dedicated unit within the armed forces – this time, honoring the 5,000+ Airmen who safeguard Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just a short jump away in Dayton. They are the 88th Air Base Wing. Fifth in the series, and only their second specialty bottle, Cartridge’s MOTTO: STRENGTH THROUGH SUPPORT pays homage to the Mighty 88th – born among the most iconic airfields in history, the core of the Air Force Materiel Command Garrison.
Flying Dog doubles down on Old Bay this summer
Each Spring, the team at Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery brings back Dead Rise Summer Ale, made with the East Coast’s iconic OLD BAY seasoning. For the 2022 release, the brewery is doubling down on their spiced beer with the creation of an epic imperial version, Double Dead Rise.
Dead Rise, the standard form of the beer, returns as a Summer Ale this year. The style, back by popular demand, is a change from the gose of previous years and contains more OLD BAY than earlier versions. The 9 percent ABV Double Dead Rise gets a bold spiciness from the OLD BAY, and the lemony citrus notes are joined by a subtle heat brought on by the addition of habaneros. While a version of the beer was piloted as a tasting room only exclusive back in 2015 – when Flying Dog sold through 20 kegs in 48 hours – 2022’s Double Dead Rise is a new recipe that will be sold at retail for the first time ever.
“Here at Flying Dog, we don’t do anything small. So when it came time for the return of our annual limited release Dead Rise, we wanted to blow away consumers with the addition of an amped up imperial version,” said Ben Savage, Chief Marketing Officer at Flying Dog Brewery. “This one’s for the true fans, the ones that have OLD BAY cannisters stuffed in their glove compartment or attached to their belt loops in case they stumble upon a meal that needs a sprinkle of glorious seasoning.”
Iron Maiden’s TROOPER line hitting U.S. shores ahead of World Tour
Iconic heavy metal band IRON MAIDEN is suiting up for the highly anticipated U.S. leg of its Legacy of the Beast World Tour ’22 kicking off Sept. 11 in El Paso, Texas, and Artisanal Imports, the exclusive U.S. importer of Robinsons Brewery, is previewing the band’s TROOPER line of beers ahead of the tour at select retailers nationwide.
TROOPER Senjutsu. This special-edition box set features 3 bottles of TROOPER Sun and Steel Saké Lager alongside a commemorative glass. TROOPER Sun and Steel is a double-fermented pilsner infused with sake to produce a crisp refreshing taste.
TROOPER Red ‘N’ Black. Returning to the U.S. in June for the first time since 2018 is TROOPER Red ‘N’ Black. This 6% ABV porter presents a blend of chocolate and crystal malt that gives this full-bodied beer a roasty, caramel backbone. Robinsons Brewery’s yeast provides hints of licorice and honey to create a delicious warming brew.
Fort Point Beer Co. summer Saison defined by dualities
Fort Point Beer Co.‘s Gemini is a refined take on the rustic Saisons of the Belgian countryside and as usual with Fort Point, there is a great personal story behind it. Gemini is inspired by the sights, sounds, and flavors from a trip the brewery’s Director of Innovation, Mike, took to Brasserie Fantôme, a one-man operation nestled in the Belgian countryside, and revered for its beguiling Saisons brewed with fruit and spices. He spent an idyllic afternoon in conversation with the brewer (and his mother!), drinking beer, eating snacks, and exploring the rustic brewery.
After returning from the trip to Fantôme, Mike brewed a beer in his kitchen, a Saison with mint, peach, and sage. He placed it in his fridge to ferment, and — as sometimes happens with homebrews — never got around to bottling it. He had to move shortly after and, tragically, had to dump it. But he poured himself one glass, and it was delicious — one of the best homebrews he’d ever made. Gemini is his chance to bring this lost beer back to life.
Lightly tart with floral yeast character, real peach imbues this refreshing beer with the taste of ripe fruit, while fresh mint adds verve to the aroma. Defined by dualities, it’s an easy-drinking beer with surprising depth and intrigue. Enjoy it over a coastal picnic or tarot reading with friends.
New Realm Brewing teams with Blackberry Smoke
New Realm Brewing has partnered with acclaimed American rock band, Blackberry Smoke to brew a fresh and flavorful take on a classic American Lager in celebration of the Band’s 21st birthday. Blackberry Smoke American Lager is brewed with all American malts.
“We are so proud to partner with a company like New Realm Brewing,” said Brit Turner, drummer and co-founder of Blackberry Smoke. “We have wanted to create a Blackberry Smoke beer for a long time. A crafted American lager is something we know our fans will enjoy and to do it with an Atlanta company like New Realm is really special. We can’t wait for all the friends, family, brothers and sisters to try it.”
In addition to the collaboration beer, New Realm will be official partners with Blackberry Smoke in several events and activations benefiting the bands cherished non-profit work. In 2009, Brit Turner, drummer for Blackberry Smoke, was on tour in Europe when he was given devastating news. Brit’s daughter, Lana Turner, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops from nerve tissue. Only three at the time, tumors had taken over 97 percent of her body. Brit and his wife, Shannon, were resolved to fight the disease and in 2011, Lana’s cancer had gone into remission. It was then that Brit’s commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of children was born and that The Lana Turner Foundation (LTF) was created. Brit and his band Blackberry Smoke leveraged their fame to generate donations which fund LTF with the mission of providing funding for CURE’s research initiatives and patient and family support.
SAVOR commemorative beer announced
The Brewers Association announced the 2022 SAVOR commemorative beer — a table beer crafted by Two Roads Brewing. Every guest at this year’s gathering in Washington, D.C., will leave with this special beer as a parting gift. From the label:
Perhaps the OG beer style for food pairing. Our table beer is brewed from Connecticut-grown malt and hops. The “secret” ingredient is the unique strain of yeast that we used. A yeast like no other — captured at our brewery property — gives this beer a distinctive peppery, tropical fruit edge. Perfect at any table.
Want to get your hands on this one-of-a-kind beer? Join us for a night of culinary bliss June 24 at The Anthem.
P.S. There are only a handful of VIP tickets remaining.