A story told by Co-founder Alex Wallash
Festival de Cervezas Extremas Juguetes Perdidos (May 25th - 26th, 2019)
Collaboration & Asado
Dinner, Beers, and Conversation
Waves, Beers, and More BBQ
Congreso De Barrel Aged & Sour Beer and Collaboration
Release Party - Friday, March 31st at The Rare Barrel
Barrel 1: English Ale Yeast, Gigayeast French Saison, The Yeast Bay Saison Blend, Brettanomyces lambicus
Barrel 2: Gigayeast Saison Blend, Brettanomyces bruxellensis,
Barrel 3: English Ale Yeast, Brettanomyces claussenii, Brettanomyces bruxellensis
Barrel 4: The Yeast Bay Dry Belgian, Wallonian Farmhouse, NE Abbey Ale, Brettanomyces bruxellensis var. Drei
Barrel 1: Lactobacillus buchneri, Pediococcus damnosus
Barrel 2: Belgian mixed culture
Barrel 3 Belgian mixed culture
Barrel 4: Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Pediococcus damnosus
Coriander - 2.5 lbs / oak brl
Chamomile - 3 lbs. / oak brl
Rose Buds & Petals - 3 lbs / oak brl
Growlers must be a marked 32oz or 64oz growlers with a lid
Please tape over any logo that is not The Rare Barrel logo
Please clean your growler prior to attending this event
Brandon will be on The Brewing Network's The Sour Hour tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 PM PST and we'll definitely be chatting about this project along with drinking some of his latest creations.
Our main goal with this project is to drive discussion of sour beer making techniques and philosophies. From brew day, to fermentation and aging, and all the way through packaging, you'll be able to not only follow the process with unprecedented access, but actually be able to influence the final outcome of the beer! We know this beer will be a Logistical Nightmare (<-- good beer name!), but the value of collaborating in this manner is to learn from the diverse opinions and knowledge of the sour beer community, pro brewers and home brewers alike!
Do you like learning about sour beer? If so, you might enjoy The Sour Hour podcast on The Brewing Network!
The Sour Hour is a podcast made for sour heads, homebrewers, and professional brewers who are interested in spreading knowledge sour beers. The show is hosted by Scott Moskowitz of The Brewing Network and Jay Goodwin from The Rare Barrel, and they are usually joined by special guests on each episode.
The Sour Hour is available for free through iTunes! If you have any questions you’d like Jay and Scott to answer on the show, feel free to email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.401.BEER when they are in the studio!
Here is a list of episodes and special guests that are available at the time of this blog post…
Episode 1 – Michael Tonsmeire, author of American Sour Beers
Episode 2 – Lauren Salazar of New Belgium
Episode 3 – Cory King of Side Project and Perennial Artisan Ales
Episode 4 – Troy Casey of Casey Brewing and Blending
Episode 5 – Tim Clifford of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
Episode 6 – Q&A Episode
Episode 7 – Nick Impellitteri of The Yeast Bay
Episode 8 – Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Episode 9 - Q&A Episode
Episode 10 – Rudi Ghequire of Rodenbach Brewery
Episode 11 – Jean of Cantillon, Vinnie of Russian River, and Rob and Jason of Allagash
Episode 12 – Jim Crooks of Firestone Walker Barrelworks
Episode 13 – Milk The Funk
Episode 14 – Adrienne Ballou and Garrett Crowell of Jester King Brewery
Episode 15 –Jester King continued
a wise man advised
"you should err
on the side
to that they replied
"we will err
on the side
Last week was awesome. Jay and Alex flew out to New Belgium Brewing to blend a sour beer with Lauren Salazar. Our friend Lauren is the Blender at New Belgium, a giant in the world of sour beer, and an all-around badass. The final blend we created is called “Err On The Side Of Awesome”, but in order to fully understand this collaboration, we’re going to take a step back in time…
On a brisk afternoon in the fall of 2007, Alex’s uncle took him on a tour of New Belgium. While Alex was on the tour, he realized that brewing is using the science of biology to create art… to create beer that was way better than the stuff he was drinking at the time (crazy as it is, Alex's mom caught a picture of that exact moment below). Upon returning home, Alex got a homebrew kit, and started brewing in his kitchen with his roommate and best friend, Jay. Fast forward in time, Jay is working at The Bruery, Lauren teaches him how to start their sensory program, and a friendship is born.
Roughly around the same time that Alex went on his tour of New Belgium though, New Belgium was looking to get rid of a few of their oak barrels, and decided to send them out to other breweries. Lauren marked the barrels that she wanted to keep and she marked the ones she wants to send out. Time passes, the seasons change, and she finds herself visiting Russian River. While she’s touring Russian River, she sees a barrel marked “pH1”… which was never supposed to leave New Belgium! pH1 was one of New Belgium’s original seven oak barrels and it was producing amazing sours. Whoops. This barrel, pH1, ended up contributing to Russian River’s exceptional beer, Beatification, and ended up living there for quite some time.
A few years later, Alex and Jay catch wind of this story, and love the idea behind it… the idea that there is this one exceptional barrel that has a perfect blend of yeast and bacteria. With that in mind, Jay and Alex decide to name their brewery “The Rare Barrel”, in reference to the legendary pH1.
About one year ago, Russian River surprised Lauren by sending her beloved pH1 back to her! She excitedly filled it up, and began to age a cherry sour in it. The cherry sour aged for a year, and brings us back to present time. pH1 has bright cherry notes, is assertively sour, and very dry. pH1 is bold, and pH1 is ready to be blended. By this point, we’re good friends with Lauren, and a collaboration with New Belgium and The Rare Barrel is born, with pH1 right smack dab in the middle of it. The circle is complete.
Lauren, Jay, and Alex spent three epic days in the wood cellar tasting through a wide variety of samples from New Belgium’s barrel and foeder program. We started with pH1 at the center, which was assertively sour and dry with bold cherry notes and free from off flavors. It was a perfect beer to blend with, because it had so much personality that we were able to carry though the entire blend. After days of tasting, blending, tasting, and more blending, we came up with a blend that we were all quite proud of.
The final blend consists of pH1, eight oak barrels of cherry sour, and parts of 2 foeders of Felix (pale sour). Check out the video below for a fast tour through the wood cellar to see pH1 and the 2 foeders. The final blend ratio of Err On The Side Of Awesome is 4 parts cherry sour, 1 part Felix from Foeder 59, and 1 part Felix from Foeder 29. Err On The Side of Awesome is assertively sour with bright notes of cherries, pineapple, white wine, and friendship.
For more details on this collab, feel free to check out The Full Pint's story too.
Fact: Cellarmaker Brewing Company knows their hops.
We teamed up with our buds from Cellarmaker Brewing Company to create 3 dry-hopped sour collaborations for SF Beer Week. We brought the sour base beers, and they brought the hop schedule. Done and done.
Why 3 dry-hopped sours? Well, we collaborated with Cellarmaker to create a dry-hopped golden sour called Tangerang back in 2014, and we were both quite proud of that. Tropical and juicy, Tangerang is like a refreshing and crushable IPA that is sour instead of bitter. We thought it would be fun to explore dry-hopping sours a little bit further, so we teamed up with those guys to create a few more of these. Here are the details on the three collabs we made with them...
Tangerang - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with motueka, citra, and columbus
Breakfast Time - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with apricots and dry-hopped with citra, simcoe, and equinox
What Hop Pun? - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels and dry-hopped with citra
In order to preserve the freshness hop character in these beers, we made them for draft only. Don't worry though.... if you missed 'em this time, we'll probably bring them back again in the near future.
Sir Isaac Newton once wrote “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." As an all-sour beer company starting out in a thriving craft beer revolution, this quote has struck a chord in our hearts.
Take a moment to think about your favorite craft beer, your most memorable brewery visit, and the friends you’ve met through your shared interest in craft beer. The craft beer revolution that we enjoy today has grown and flourished through the hard work, passion, and dedication of the brewers and pioneers who paved the way for those of us who are starting breweries today. We have the utmost respect for those who have come before us and shaped the amazing craft beer industry that we have today.
In honor of those who have contributed immensely to the growth of craft beer, we are starting our first collaborative series of beers, called “On the Shoulders of Giants”. In this series, we will collaborate with a person (aka a “giant”); someone who has significantly and positively changed the landscape of beer. Once we have blended and released a beer with one of the “giants”, we will work with that person to select the “giant” for the next collaboration in the series. In our first installment of On the Shoulders of Giants, we collaborated with our personal “giant”, Pete Slosberg.
Pete Slosberg co-founded Pete’s Brewing Company in 1986. His flagship beer, Pete’s Wicked Ale, was an American Brown Ale that was made with an all-malt recipe and a focus on quality ingredients. In a time when craft beer awareness wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today, Pete understood that education about craft beer was paramount to understanding awareness about craft beer. In order to promote better understanding about beer, Pete created “Pete’s Landscape of Beers”, an educational tool that he used to “teach anyone to be expert in craft beer in 10 minutes”. When hiring a new employee, the offer letter included three books, and the new hire was required to take a beer test on their first day with the company. In a time when 6 packs were the norm, he was among the first package his beers in a 22 oz. bottle as a core strategy for the packaging (take a moment to think about how much of an impact that has had on how we try beer today!). And what about cans? Pete was among the first craft breweries to put his craft beer in cans, which eventually could be enjoyed on four different airlines. In a time when seasonal varieties were limited to just a Christmas or pumpkin beers, Pete was the first to offer four different seasonal beers. Pete's Brewing Company was the first to sponsor the Ninkasi Award through American Homebrewers Association, an award given to the most awarded homebrewer at the National Homebrewer's Conference. Part of the prize included being the first homebrewer to do a collaboration that was released nationally. When KQED hosted a beer fest in the early 1990’s and asked Pete for a donation, he auctioned off a dinner with himself, instead of the traditional case of beer or shirt. Greg Koch and Steve Wagner won the auction and joined Pete for dinner, a few years before they went on to found Stone Brewing Company. When Facebook and Twitter weren’t yet an option for communicating with his followers, he created an ad campaign in 1994 that the NY Times said was one of the top 10 nationally, across all companies. When Pete heard he was going to be a first time grandfather, he approached Drie Fonteinen about blending a special sour beer in honor of his grandson's birth, a beer that could be cellared for 20+ years for that generation. Armand and Lydie thought it was a crazy idea, but supported it. For the first time ever, Armand blended a beer from only his worts. This inspired Armand and Lydie to create their own unique offering from this blend, Armand 4, Spring. In a time when the options for craft beer were few and far between, Pete did things his own way. With 10 years of over 100% growth and making the Inc. 500 list for fastest growing private company, Pete’s Brewing Company was a force in craft beer that changed the idea of beer as we know it today.
In our first installment of “On the Shoulders of Giants”, we gave Pete the keys to our barrel house, and let him create his perfect sour. After tasting though countless barrels, Pete decided to create and blend a dark sour beer with sour cherries. Pete chose the barrels, blended the beer, added the sour cherries, bottled the beer, and visited often to check-in on his blend. With rich notes of dark chocolate and cherries, this beer is arguably one of our most sour beers yet. With the recent birth of his granddaughter McKayla, Pete created this beer with the intention of sharing these bottles with McKayla on her 21st birthday, in 2034 (we can’t guarantee this beer will age that long, but will definitely be tracking it’s progress over the years!).
Pete – Thank you for all you have done in craft beer to create an environment where a few guys with the crazy idea of starting an all-sour brewery have a chance to share our passion with the world. If we have seen further it is by standing on your shoulders.