Collaborating for a Cause | Ancient Otter Treats
- Eric Griffin
- On July 17, 2023
The continued outpouring of support for Alex Kidd and his family in the wake of his devastating Stage IV cancer diagnosis has been nothing short of incredible. Breweries nationwide and beyond have pledged support, and limited releases of special beers dedicated to Alex have slowly been surfacing. This series began with Horus Aged Ale’s Stay Strong Alex collaboration, and is continuing this week with Forager Brewery’s special release of Ancient Otter Treats in support of the man behind Don’t Drink Beer.
The Forager Cause
Forager Brewery opened their doors in late summer of 2015 in Rochester, Minnesota. While success over the years has allowed them to open up a café at the brewery as well as offshoot brewery Humble Forager, their start like many breweries was unpresuming. And yet, Alex Kidd was there at the beginning, providing huge support and advocating for them as they looked to build their name and reputation. Continually one to champion their wild ale program as well as their barrel-aged clean beers over the years, Alex also provided a comedic voice through his Malt Couture podcast. When talking with Austin Jevne, Co-Founder and Head Brewer at Forager, he told us that his comedic relief is often heard throughout the brewery, and is always sure to provide some good laughs.
Alex and his crew finally met Austin and the Forager team in person at the Denver Rare Beer Festival, giving them an opportunity to get to know each other on more of a personal level. The Forager Family loves Alex’s approach towards beer, family, and life, all very important values to them as well.
Ancient Otter Treats
Forager’s response to the news of Alex’s life-changing diagnosis came in the form of a very limited, blended Old Ale from deep within their barrel room. Ancient Otter Treats is a blend of 68-month barrel-aged Batch 1 Kitten Treats (their BA Wheatwine) with 26-month barrel-aged Batch 1 Kent the Otter (their English-Style BA Barleywine). The beer was packaged in 187mL bottles and finished at 12.6% ABV.
This special blend honors Alex’s passion for Barleywine-style beers. One could even argue he helped to pioneer the repopularization of the style. Not only that, but he was well known for coining the term Barleywine is Life and its associated hashtag, #BiL.
The release for Ancient Otter Treats was only 90 bottles, and they sold out incredibly quick. Each bottle cost $100, with 100% of the sales going to Alex’s GoFundMe. In the end, this beer was able to raise $9,000 for the Kidd family. Austin and Forager were generous enough to send a bottle to PorchDrinking for review. It was an opportunity we felt certainly needed to be shared.
The pour on this beer is pitch black, with a slightly-thinner-than motor oil viscosity. A few lazy bubbles of carbonation rise and pop at the top of the glass.
The nose brings a punch of dark chocolate-covered blueberries, Raisinets, and Ruby Port. With time in the glass those strong notes of chocolate and stewed fruits really intensifies.
The palate comes on initially similar to the nose. That said, with time it brings more to the table and adds further complexity to the overall profile. Notes of fig jam and berry compote lead the way for the mid-palate to feature caramelized cherries & Chunky bars. On the finish is a very subtle tartness to accompany a homemade caramel richness.
The mouthfeel is mildly syrupy, and finishes with a nice ethanol warmth. As mentioned, there’s a touch of tartness akin to a Ruby Port. However, the finish is rich, sticky, and sweet; very much features the Kent the Otter half of the blend.
Supporting the Kidd Family
While the beer itself was a one-off blend, Alex’s GoFundMe is still very much open and accepting donations. These special beers have personal meaning and significance to both the breweries releasing them as well as to Alex himself. That said, Forager and other participating breweries want to continue to support Alex’s fight in any way they can. It’s our hope that by highlighting these special releases and the breweries behind them, we can continue to spread awareness and support for the Kidd family as they navigate the long road they have ahead of them.
We love you Alex and wish you and your family a speedy recovery.
– Forager Family