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Collaborating for a Cause | Alex’s Life

Feature Image for the Veil Collaboration Barleywine for Alex Kidd
Eric Griffin

Our showcase for the Alex’s Life installment of this series has been a long time coming. A collaboration of six of the biggest names in today’s craft scene, this joint effort was an undoubtedly pure testament to the magnitude of togetherness exhibited toward Alex Kidd and his family as he endures this fight with Stage IV cancer. With additional thanks owed to craft beer marketplace Tavour as the outlet used to maximize the release’s scope, this Veil-headlined benefit still remains the largest fundraiser to-date for the Kidds.

The Veil & Friends Cause

In addition to The Veil, the other breweries included in this special one-off release were Side Project, Trillium, Other Half, Monkish, and Evil Twin. This blend was meant to honor their mutual pal and creator of both Don’t Drink Beer and the Malt Couture podcast. As a clear and continued supporter of Barleywine, the brewers quickly chose the style for the beer, crafting this exclusive blend from threads in all six brewery barrel inventories.

This was a truly once-in-a-lifetime collaborative effort, for a truly worthy cause. And the beer itself is something to behold.

Alex’s Life

Label Artwork, Alex's Life, Veil & Friends
Label Courtesy of The Veil Brewing

This blended Barleywine not only included threads from all six collaborating breweries, but it took the oldest Barleywine that each had aging from their respective bourbon barrel stocks for a truly one-of-a-kind offering. The length of aging ranged anywhere from 10 to 37 months, finishing at 15.2% ABV. This English-style Barleywine is an incredibly complex blend, one meant to be shared with friends and family in helping to celebrate Alex and these amazing breweries’ collective love for the Barleywine style.

This massive collaborative effort was able to raise a staggering $55,944 for the Kidd family GoFundMe. Yes, you read that right. This collective donation is the largest single contribution to-date, and amounts to over 10% of the total raised for Alex’s medical expenses so far. An incredible benefit that involved some incredible breweries.

Studio release footage of Alex's Life via Tavour
Photo Courtesy of Tavour & The Veil Brewing

Like so many others, we were also able to obtain this exclusive blend via Tavour’s July release of Alex’s Life. We’re so excited to share a detailed breakdown of such a deeply complex beer.

Release Photos, Alex's Life
Photos Courtesy of The Veil Brewing

The Review

Review Image of massive Veil Collab Barleywine, released by Tavour
Photo by Eric Griffin | Opener by 3BranchStudio

There’s a pitch black pour on Alex’s Life; ruby-hued but a boozy abyss. While there’s some initial head buildup, it is quick to fizzle out, leaving the liquid flat and motionless.

The nose commences with a distinct balance of malt, oak, and fruit. Integration of the beer’s extended barrel-aging brings hints of char to accompany subtler nuances of caramel candy and raisin. With added time in the glass, the barrel character continues to intensify; oak, smoke, and a touch of vanilla harmonize their dedicated tune to this calculated blend of Barleywines.

In a clear compliment to the strong aromatics, oak influence also characterizes the forefront of the palate. It comes on dry, following with notes of charred oak, stewed dark fruits, burnt caramel, and smoked vanilla. It becomes immediately evident that this beer has so much to unpack. While initially unpresuming, this powerhouse collab is super complex. Additional time and temperature add underlying esters, contributing more “texture” to the experience.

While unexpectedly thin, it doesn’t take away from the experience. Even without the fully-encompassing palate coating there’s a great warming finish, with a touch of bitterness to round out the experience.

Supporting the Kidd Family

It has unbelievably been nearly a year since the Craft Beer community was rocked by Alex Kidd’s announcement on social media that he had been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Since that day he has fought his ass off, and fortunately his grit and determination has led to predominantly positive updates in his journey to recovery.

He has recently finished another session of chemotherapy, and the toll it has taken on his mind and body is more than many of us can imagine. Our hearts go out to Alex as well as the 5,000+ people diagnosed with some form of cancer every single day. The link to the Kidd Family GoFundMe can be found here, as well as a direct link to donate to the American Cancer Foundation.

The beer community continues to fight and raise awareness, and this series will continue to highlight it. Stay tuned over the next few months as we see additional installments featuring Jukes Ale Works and Jailbreak Brewing, with more in the works. Stay Strong, Alex!

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