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New Year-Round Bombers: City of the Dead

On Feb 29, 2016 - 3 Comments -

City of the Dead represents the divine union of our barrel-aged coffee program and our relentlessly inventive brewhouse. "WTF is barrel-aged coffee?" Good question, here's how we make it.

When we started realizing the incredible depth of delicious complexity we were able to get out of barrel-aged coffee beans, it was a pretty short step to: "We should totally put this in beer." A couple of casks of Black House w/ barrel-aged beans later, and we were convinced that this definitely had to be a thing.

So we formulated a 7.5% ABV export stout specifically to play well with barrel-aged coffee. The base beer is luxuriously rich and chewy, and loaded with notes of roasty, chocolaty radness. The perfect canvas for these incredibly flavorful beans.

Once the beer has finished fermenting, we dose it with 2.5 lbs/barrel of bourbon barrel-aged coffee and let the beans work their magic. The coffee origin will change throughout the year, but the first batch contains our single origin Guatemala Jacaltenango, a bean that brings a considerable amount of chocolate and dark-fruity goodness to the mix.

What you get in the end is a stout sporting an impossibly decadent mélange of freshly-emptied bourbon barrels, coffee, and malty awesomeness unlike any other. It's tastes something like a coffee-drenched, burnt mashmallow, but drier and more like beer.

This mind-altering ambrosia hits shelves starting TODAY, and is on tap and in bottles now at both tasting rooms. Once your taste buds begin singing together in joyous harmony, we think you'll concur that it was worth the rather long trip to create.

New Year-Round Bombers: Orderville IPA

On Feb 21, 2016 - 5 Comments -

If we had a nickel for every time someone said "You should make (insert preferred Modern Times seasonal IPA here) year round!", we'd have, like, so many goddamn nickels. Of course we'd love to make City of the Sun or Booming Rollers year round, but unless you've got a few truckloads of Citra & Motueka to sell us, it ain't happening.

It did, however, get us thinking. Was it even possible to make a year-round IPA that rivaled the standard of bomb-diggityness set by our seasonals without putting ourselves into a impossible hop-sourcing bind? At this point, the idea of beating the IPA boss on "Hard" mode became too intriguing to ignore.

What followed was an excruciating number of brewing iterations, subjected to the kind of obsessive, anxiety-ridden scrutiny that only a room full of OCD beer nerds can fully understand. When we finally emerged from the final QA panel, we held in our hands something magical–an IPA that met our unreasonably high expectations, made with only a somewhat annoying list of ingredients. Behold, Orderville.

While you might mistake this for a bottle of pure, unfiluted sex, it is actually a Mosaic-stuffed IPA propelled to peach-tastic glory through the inspired use of a top-cropping English yeast strain not often seen on this side of the U.S..

A word on the yeast. If you’ve been by our tasting rooms recently, you may have tried some of the test batches for this beer under the name Nova Swing. Nova Swing was a killer IPA, but was is unimpeachably top-of-the-heap, year-round material? Not quite.

It needed an extra push, which came in the form of a yeast strain with just the right fruity, estery roundness to compliment the hop bill, turning "great" into "Holy shit, this is amazing." Managing another yeast is a pain in the ass, but at least we don't have to fight over a limited supply of it with every other brewery on the planet.

We realize "old -school English yeast strain" is not a catchy selling-point in the contemporary beer market, and to be fair, it's not always a good idea. Chico, our standard yeast for hoppy beers, just gets the hell out of the way of the hops, allowing them to completely drive the sensory experience of the beer.

Oftentimes, that's all you'd want out of a yeast in a hoppy beer. However, a yeast that produces a ton of fruity esters can sometimes be incredibly complimentary to a new wave, tropical hop bill, blurring the line between the sensory features contributed by the yeast and the hops and yielding an incomparably intense fruit quality that is unachievable with hops alone. Try it, you'll like it.

Even after the insanely demanding process of formulating a beer, we never really stop dialing it in. This process of constant tinkering and improvement is an integral part of what makes us who we are, and we'll be bringing that perfectionist approach to bear on Orderville as well. So expect to see this beer only get radder with time.

Has this been a ridiculous amount of work? Sure. Was it totally worth it? Definitely, and we think you’ll agree once you put some of this year-round radness in your pie hole.

Next week: a rundown on City of the Dead, our award-winning stout with house-roasted, barrel-aged coffee.

New Year-Round Bombers: Fruitlands

On Feb 6, 2016 - 1 Comment -

Our beer lineup for 2016 is looking absolutely bonkers, and one of the things we're out-of-our-minds stoked about is the chance to add three incredibly unique year-round beers to our brewing (and drinking) schedule. We'll be featuring one of them here each week to get you better acquainted, so it's not all awkward when you meet in real life. First up: the epic crushability of Fruitlands.

This beer is a glorious mansion of fruity refreshment built on the rock-solid foundation of a sour, salty gose. The funky, delicious base beer proved to be an absolutely magical companion to any fruit we threw at it, so we ended up dividing this release into three parts, giving you a taste of each of our favorites. Here's how it breaks down for 2016:

Apricot: March–May
Passion Fruit and Guava: June–September
Cherry: October–January

Prepare your tastebuds for wonderment; there was a reason we couldn't pick just one. Next week: the fruity dankaliciousness of Orderville IPA.