Some Thoughts on the New Year-Rounds

On March 9, 2016 - 73 Comments -

Releasing 3 new year round beers was a thing. A major thing. A thing that consumed much of the time, energy, and brainpower of many of the people in this building. These beers also embody our collective approach to decision-making better than anything else we've made. Let me explain.

About a year ago, a bunch of us sat around a table and decided what the major pieces of our beer program would be in 2016. There were oodles of ideas, many of them conflicting. But we patiently fleshed each of them out, compared them, synthesized the best ones, discarded whatever didn't fit, and ultimately ended up in a place that all of us could embrace. That process of consensus-building is fundamental to who we are, and a major reason why we make good beer.

The first step was deciding on what we wanted to feature and what we felt like we were missing. We agreed that: a) We had taken major steps forward with several key brewing processes, and b) We were underrepresented on the bomber shelf.

After debating the merits of countless beer options to put into year round bombers, we settled on the three we felt best represented what we've learned, and added something meaningful to the local craft beer market.

City of the Dead most obviously meets the criteria because it's a beer that literally only Modern Times could make. Our ability to barrel-age, roast, and dose coffee into beer is totally unique, and we were frickin' stoked with the results we were getting. City of the Dead is exactly the kind of beer that puts the jam on our toast, and so it was a shoe-in for the program. The only real challenge was figuring out how to massively scale-up our barrel-aged coffee program, but that's something we had planned to do anyway.

Fruitlands was a somewhat harder decision, but only because of the logistical challenges inherent in brewing it year round. We didn't doubt our ability to brew an absolutely badassical fruited gose, but kettle souring is a time intensive process. We worried that success might lead to endless headaches in the brewhouse, but our brilliant production team put on their thinking caps and figured out how to make it work. The idea to rotate the fruit three times a year also got us all hot and bothered, so we basically forced ourselves to solve the riddle. We're still tweaking the way we add fruit, but that type of adjustment is par for the course with anything new.

Orderville was definitely the toughest of the three to decide on. How do you commit to brewing a beer year round you've never made before? At the same time, we learned a tremendous amount about brewing hoppy beers over the course of many special releases and draft-only batches, so we felt good about putting an IPA in that slot.

But Orderville had to be brewed with hops we could actually get, and it had to be absolutely bomb. In today's hop market, that's like trying to build a helicopter in a high school shop class. So we auditioned a variety of different hops and yeasts over five agonizing test batches, before finally settling on the final approach. We've continued to fuss with it, but with our third full-scale production batch about to be packaged, we feel stellar about our totally sweet helicopter.

Anyway, that's just a peek into how we make these kinds of decisions and why. I don't believe in the misguided idea that singular genius trumps collective decision-making, and our extremely collaborative process reflects that. These beers and the process of making them are probably the clearest embodiment yet of that value, and I'm exceptionally proud of the results.


March 9, 2016 at 9:02pm

Had the orderville the last time I was up there and thought it was awesome! Keep up the good work!

March 11, 2016 at 1:45am

Great decision with all the beers, especially the gose.

July 14, 2016 at 1:51pm

Hi, my name is Alex Crowder a homebrewer in San Diego. I was lucky enough to try Divine Smite at Bottle Craft the other day. It was one of the best beers I have ever tasted. I have been searching around and I can not find it anywhere now. I was wondering if I could possible get a recipe for this delicious fermented nectar. If not could I possibly get an ingredients list so I have somewhere to start with. Thank you so much!! You guys rock!!

July 21, 2016 at 2:49pm

Are you guys ever going to distribute your beer to WA state?

Steve Swyhart
August 15, 2016 at 5:39pm

Hey there - first off let me say that your beers are all amazing, keep up the great work. That being said I’ve noticed that you have a decent number of beers that don’t ever show up on your website under your “Beers” Section. Some examples of this would be Divine Smite, Attack Frequency, Whizz Bang etc. Is there a reason why you don’t list them? Is it because they’re in such short supply that they’re gone before you even have a chance to update your website? Anyway I really like the way you rotate beers on your menu and always keep your beer list fresh and exciting. I feel like every time I visit one of your tasting rooms I’m in store for a real treat. Anyway keep up the awesome job your doing and continue brewing amazing beer. :-)

December 15, 2016 at 5:32pm

I saw Carrie in concert last November when she came to Penn State. My mom, sister, and all my aunts came, so we made a gi3;#&r9ls; weekend out of it :) She was AMAZING, I cried when she sang How Great Thou Art, and didn't even care that I was in public, it was that good!

December 15, 2016 at 5:33pm

Det er altid dejligt med læsetid.En helt anden ting Rakel, kunne du lokkes til at vise billeder fra dit bryllup og barnedåb?Jeg sad og ventede spændt på opdateringen omkring alle sintpeapirsblomskerle, de fine paptallerkener og alt det andet, da helvede brød løs.Jeg håber sådan, men forstår hvis ikke.Kh,Synne

December 15, 2016 at 5:44pm

I listened to it.  It’s good.  It’s retro good!  But it is not the best episode ever.  That would be the Coleco ADAM podcast:  Ok, ok, th287#ta1&;s just an opinion, but if there was a Coleco ADAM or ColecoVision at the camp, both Tripper and Rudy would have spent hours on it ;)

December 15, 2016 at 5:45pm

RosalieI love the result, it look very beautiful and classy! Usually, I don2&8#17;t put makeup, except when I go out, but I think lessons would be a good thing. Thanks for sharing your experience!

December 15, 2016 at 5:45pm

Hoi Dorieke! De échte inzending van Teresa Kerry was een recept voor . Omdat ik die een beetje saai vond, heb ik die Ketchup koekjes er bij geuLogled.oegke site trouwens!

December 15, 2016 at 7:03pm

Frankly I think that’s ableoutlsy good stuff.

December 15, 2016 at 7:05pm

This piece was cogent, we-wilrltten, and pithy.

December 15, 2016 at 7:12pm

And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me stargiht.

December 15, 2016 at 7:21pm

Ya learn soneihtmg new everyday. It’s true I guess!

December 16, 2016 at 9:51pm

That’s a nicely made answer to a chllneaging question

December 16, 2016 at 9:55pm

Haha, shouldn’t you be charging for that kind of knl?deogew!

December 16, 2016 at 9:55pm

Shiver me timbers, them’s some great intofmarion.

December 21, 2016 at 8:31pm

Life is short, and this article saved vaulbale time on this Earth.

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Tiantai Beer Equipment
June 19, 2017 at 2:45am

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