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Collaborating for a Cause | Strawberry Arabesque

Feature Image for Phase Three's Strawberry Arabesque
Eric Griffin

Like many of the other fundraising efforts conducted for Alex Kidd and his family following the announcement of his cancer diagnosis, this benefit from Phase Three Brewing took place during the summer of 2023. On June 22 the brewery announced their newest Ambassador-exclusive release, Strawberry Arabesque. However in an unexpected move, they also stated that they would be donating a portion of all the proceeds from bottle sales, draft pours and an in-person raffle to the GoFundMe set up for the Kidds.

The Phase Three Cause

This small Illinois-based brewery opened its doors in 2020. A product of collective passion and friendship, husband-and-wife team Shaun and Brittany Berns opened Phase Three alongside Shaun’s best friend Evan Morris. In just three years their brewery has made a lot of noise, recently opening a second location featuring a taproom and kitchen in Elmhurst, IL, and continuing to develop a diverse portfolio of varied styles of beer as well as an impressive barrel program. They pride themselves in their mission to create hand-crafted beer with quality ingredients by honest people.

Additionally, the team in Lake Zurich has always advocated for and supported their local community, with numerous organizations that they’ve been able to donate to or benefit over the years. Following the devastating news of beloved Craft Beer icon Don’t Drink Beer back in May, they knew this was another opportunity to show their support.

Strawberry Arabesque

Flat Label art for Phase Three's Strawberry Arabesque
Strawberry Arabesque Label Artwork

This project began in late 2020, when Phase Three put their dark English Barleywine into casks and let them rest for 30 months. After a slumber in Willett Bourbon and Old Fitzgerald Bourbon barrels, the beers were blended, and strawberry was added. The addition of fruit imparted sweet, slightly acidic notes to the familiar sweet caramel, charred oak, and whiskey notes of Arabesque.

This unique iteration released on June 23, 2023, with bottles available exclusively to Ambassador members but available to the public on draft in addition to bottle pours of their 2022 Arabesque release. Phase Three announced that in honor of their friend who brought us all the motto “Barleywine is Life”, they would be donating a portion of all proceeds from Strawberry Arabesque to Alex and his family. While this included sales of bottles and draft pours, they also ran an in-person ticketed raffle to add to their donation. Prizes for this random draw included a magnum bottle of Strawberry Arabesque and a gift package of Alex’s favorite P3 barrel-aged beers—Arabesque 2021, Minutiae 2020 and Eunoias 1 & 2. Following the release, Phase Three donated $500 to the GoFundMe set up for Alex, adding to the countless acts of generosity that the Kidds have witnessed during this long and difficult road.

We were able to secure a bottle of Strawberry Arabesque to share for this installment, and to continue reviewing these dedicated releases as an homage to the most well-known and respected reviewer of beers in the Industry.

The Review

Review image, Strawberry Arabesque Barleywine
Photo by Eric Griffin

Enveloped in dark, brooding hues with golden undertones, the liquid cascades into the glass with minimal head, settling into a tranquil stillness.

The aroma unveils the strawberry essence, harmonized by nuances of caramel and a hint of boozy bread pudding. Together it creates a delicate equilibrium between the base and the added fruit. Over time, dark chocolate emerges, elegantly marrying with the strawberry notes.

On the palate, a remarkable balance unfolds between adjunct and base beer, further enriched by barrel-aged complexities. Blistered oak and burnt caramel interplay with the strawberry’s acidity, culminating in a subtly dry finish that accentuates the barrel character.

The mouthfeel is fantastic, with a luscious viscosity that delicately coats the palate. While bordering on syrupy, it gracefully maintains balance with the strawberry’s acidity, ending with a gentle dryness and pleasant warmth.

Supporting the Kidds

It’s been 10 months since the GoFundMe for Alex Kidd was set up as a means to provide financial support for future medical treatments. In an incredible recent surge that included another $3,550 donation from the Phase Three team on March 8, the current amount raised has broken the 400k mark and sits at an amazing $404,888. If you would like to contribute financial support as well, the page is linked at the top of this article.

The fight continues, and the support is as strong as ever. As we continue to highlight more breweries that have played a part in the outpouring of community love toward Alex and his family, please keep an eye out as this series is far from reaching an end. The Veil Brewing‘s massive collaborative Barleywine will be featuring soon, along with spotlights from Wax Wings, Cerebral, Wren House and more!

Stay Strong, Alex!

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