Weekly Growler Fill | National Beer News Roundup
This week I have some very important craft beer news that you must read. First, the law makers are a movin’ and a shakin’ to make some changes for the craft beer community in Wisconsin and Alabama. But guess what? The breweries are a movin’ and a sprayin’. Yes, you read that correctly. Urban Chestnut is ‘moving’ by expanding distribution to Chicago and Cantillon is literally spraying the insides of it’s new facility with beer. Get the details to these stories and more in this edition of the Weekly Growler Fill.
Whether you have a lover or not, this Valentine’s Day there will be at least one sweet thing you can rely on: Firestone Walker will be releasing it’s second batch of Feral One. This sour ale is a a blend of beers that have been aging for 2-4 years and serves as a tribute to the second anniversary of the Barrelworks Facility. Here’s how they describe it:
“With last year’s Feral One and now this year’s second batch, the goal was to sleuth out a winning blend from our best and most mature barrels,” said Barrelworks Director Jeffers Richardson. “We see this beer as representing the improbable saga of Barrelworks, from its origins as a secret ‘skunk works’ project to our present-day cathedral of barrels.”
The 2015 Feral One is a blend of Vintage Solace (43%), a wild wheat ale aged between 16 and 48 months in French and American oak; Agrestic (43%), an American wild red ale aged between 24 and 28 months in French oak; and Lil’ Opal (14%), a brett’d saison aged for 26 months in French oak. Microflora accomplices included Brettanomyces Lambicus, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis and Lactobacillus Brevis.
“The bulk of this blend has been aging for two to four years in oak barrels, and the resulting complexity really shows on the palate,” said Master Blender Jim Crooks.
“The 2015 Feral One begins with an earthy funky nose that gives way to estery notes of dried apricots, strawberry, guava and slight orange zest. Mature toasted oak, lavender, vanilla and cinnamon lurk in the background. Mouthwatering acidity and soft tannins are punctuated by firm carbonation.”
This sounds like something I absolutely must have. If you’re out in Paso Robles, there will be a party accompanying the release of Feral One. For tickets, click here.
At first, this sounds crazy but after further investigation, the story is making a lot more sense. In order to ‘recreate the Cantillon micro-climate’ the brewers are coating the walls of the new location with their precious beer. Through this method, they hope to introduce some of the bacteria, yeast, and other fun things that were hanging around at the other production facility. Apparently this is an age-old practice with lambic brewers so I think we should just trust them that this will work. The process seems like barrels of fun but I’d probably drink all the beer before it made it to the walls.
Last month I reported a story about Urban Chestnut’s plans to build a brewery in Germany. This month, I am here to let you know that the St. Louis-based brewery will now be expanding distribution to Chicago. After making a name for itself in all of the big Missouri cities, the brewery decided it was time to make a name for itself in surrounding states. What’s next..taking over the world? Probably not, but you never know. To make this next jump possible, the brewery is teaming up with Lakeshore Beverage Company. No official dates have been announced.
Did you know that craft brewing was illegal in Alabama until 2009?! That sh*t cray. Now, Alabama has 31 breweries, brewpubs and contract brewers, with more to open soon and the Alabama Brewers Guild has big plans for the future. With the help of some state legislators, they are introducing a bill that would create a ‘craft brewers license’ to help cut down the federal excise tax on craft breweries under 2 million barrels. This bill would also allow for off-premise sales so that patrons to these lovely establishments could buy some delicious beers to take home and consume. Currently, visitors can only sample the goods in a tasting room or buy them at the grocery store. Sales at the breweries would increase funds and therefore support the local businesses. The bill is set to be introduced when the Legislature convenes in March.
Who run the world? Girls! Big news in Wisconsin all thanks to this bossy lady, Senator Tammy Baldwin. The Small BREW Act has been around for four years but has failed to move beyond committee sessions. Last week, Sen. Baldwin reintroduced the bill that would cut the federal excise tax that small craft brewers pay on each barrel. For breweries in Wisconsin that produce under 2 million barrels, this could mean great things. They currently pay $7 of tax on each barrel produced and if this bill goes through, it could be reduced to $3.50 for the first 60,000 barrels. If you do the math, that brings down the tax from $420,000 to $210,000 which is a whole lot of money for small breweries. Since most of Wisconsin’s craft brewers are producing under 60,000 barrels, they would be getting the most bang for their buck out of the Small BREW Act. Sen. Baldwin proposed that the bill would save a total of $1.5 million for breweries, meaning there could be $1.5 million to go back into the companies to expand jobs and boost local economies. You go girl!