Now, straight from Niko, here are a few of the beers we’re planning to drop this Spring:SuperKveik | gin barrel-fermented Norwegian-style ale with elderberries and tangerineThe idea with this beer is to brew a very high-gravity beer and ferment it at very high temperature in white wine barrels that I bought 2 years ago and gave to Brian Winter at Wander North distilling to fill with gin. He is dumping them the week before I brew into them, so the gin and minerality from the white wine should be very fresh. Kveik is a Norwegian tradition of farmhouse ales that has yielded an incredibly odd and unique family of yeasts that are well adapted to ferment high-gravity beers at insane temperatures (like, 100F) very, very quickly and without phenolic off-flavors (think Belgian band-aid stuff). I plan to make elderberry syrup from some fresh elderberries and add that along with some tangerine puree to the barrels. It should be pretty intense - a fruity gincocktail with some faux-tannic character and herbal/woody notes. I've been very into the idea of fermenting in gin barrels for years now, and it has been difficult to find them. The best part about this beer is that it is a multi-year project that is finally coming to fruition. I honestly kind of forgot these barrels existed for a year or so. Also, kveik yeast is fascinating, and we haven't really pushed it to it's most familiar places yet - triple digit temperatures, and double digit ABVs. It's completely backwards and upside down, so pairing it with an unorthodox fruit duo and a strange fermentation vessel sounds pretty fun.
The Bee’s Knees | Marvel Bar collab | gin barrel-fermented sour wheat beer with honey, lemon, and botanicalsThis is a collab with Marvel Bar, and it was actually a David Anderson joint to put us all in the same room. David has worked on our canning line, and he currently tends bar and works on our merch. The "Bee's Knees" is a very delicious cocktail that Marvel Bar makes from J. Carver barrel-aged gin with honey and lemon, essentially, and it seemed like the sort of thing that could be ported over to beer format. We're fermenting sour wheat beer in freshly dumped gin barrels from J. Carver, adding honey to the barrels, and then adding gin botanicals and whole lemons at the final stage. The biggest unknown is fermenting in gin barrels - how long is long enough, how long is too long, that sort of thing. It's also interesting to do a collab with bartenders - they have a solid knowledge base about beer, and opinions about it, but not necessarily the technical know-how that you find in professional brewers, which makes total sense. It is interesting to be solely in the position of attempting to translate the idea for the beer into reality via technique, as opposed to be doing it jointly, like one would in a collab with another brewery. I appreciate how doing it this way threw some doors open to new ideas. It's a delicious inspiration, and it's always fun to chase down something really specific and see how well you can do it
Smith & Lentz collab-to-be-named-later | Smith & Lentz collab; rum-barrel-fermented Czech-style dark lager)I've known Kurt Smith and Adler Lentz (founders of Smith & Lentz, an outstanding brewery in Nashville) since 2012 or so in Texas. We've been meaning to brew together for years, but have never been able to get on the same page in terms of time. This beer idea is a crime of opportunity, since I have been itching to brew an oak-fermented lager for at least a year, since I had my first one from Threes Brewing in Brooklyn, NY. The timing on this beer is pretty cool, since we'll be brewing into (fairly) freshly dumped rum barrels that previously held imperial stout. I've never made a Czech-style dark lager before, so it should be fun to dial up the maltiness and down the hoppiness from my standard take on dark lagers. Fermenting entirely in oak is also a unique challenge - we'll do the entire fermentation in 53 gallon barrels in the cooler, so finding a lager yeast that is happy fermenting at an extra-cold temperature is one aspect of this that is exciting. Clearly, Kurt, Adler, and I love lagers, and we make and drink a lot of them. Fermenting an oddball lager like this in a container like this is something completely new to me, and it will be exciting to see how the barrel character makes itself known in the beer.
Just as a reminder, Journeys + Sidequests won’t take anything away from our existing bottle program. We’ll continue to give co-op members early access to taproom bottle releases, and we’ll bring you even more of our most popular beers (e.g., U-PICK, Raspberry Roselle, tart and funky beers, fruited beers). So even if you don’t join Journeys + Sidequests, you’ll still get access to an outstanding selection of beers and events this year.If the above descriptions do sound fun to you, though, then we hope that you’ll show your support and join now so that we can dial in our plans. As a gift for joining, you’ll get some extremely excellent merch along with the first bottle drop, and you plus a guest will also be invited to a party later in the year (tentatively October). Remember to use the discount code JOINTHEPARTY and to sign up before midnight on January 31!Here’s to the journey,
The Fair State Brewing Cooperative Team