Beer 511

Exploring Craft Beer and Homebrew in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Beer Releases Page 1 of 2

Black is Beautiful

Brewers worldwide are joining an initiative to brew a special edition beer to raise awareness of the obstacles and injustices faced by Black people on a daily basis, to promote necessary changes, and raise funds for organizations helping to bring about such changes.

The initiative was launched by Marcus Baskerville, the founder and head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing Company in San Antonio, TX.

As someone who has personally dealt with the abuse of power by the police, this recent turmoil the country is facing has hit home for me. As I write this, I contemplate how the country can move forward, how we as the people, can create change, and what it will take for everyone to move forward with a common respect for one another. For us, we feel that this is our contribution to a step.

Marcus Baskerville, Founder & Head Brewer @ Weathered Souls Brewing

Baskerville brewed Black is Beautiful, a beer which he planned to release as a show of support to those protesting for justice and equality for people of color. Challenged by fellow brewers to turn it into a collaboration -following the precedent set by such initiatives as Sierra Nevada’s “Resilience” campaign- Baskerville teamed up with KD Designs to design a label, established a website, and shared the recipe with the world.

The beer itself is a 10% abv stout, with Cascade hops, including a bittering addition of 45-50 IBUs. However, Baskerville stresses that building on the base recipe brewers should feel free to “please place your own spin and love into this.”

He asks that brewers.

  • Use the label that has been provided
  • Donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged (Weathered Souls will be giving their proceed to the Know Your Rights Campaign)
  • Choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion
  • Commit to the long-term work of equality

At this time 962 breweries in all 50 states and 17 countries have signed on to brew Black is Beautiful.

Look for participating breweries near you at blackisbeautiful.beer.

Exciting news from Russian River

Well, the news that has gotten the local beer internet’s attention is the announcement that Russian River Brewing Co. will start bottling its famous Pliny the Younger triple IPA.

Pliny the Younger, as you may know, is a triple IPA, actually brewed with almost triple the amount of hops of a regular IPA, with a starting gravity of 1.088 and a finishing alcohol content of 10.25%. It was first brewed by Russian River in 2005 and has been brewed seasonally since then and released only on tap at Russian River’s pub and at select locations in California during a two-week period each February. Pliny the Younger is one of the most eagerly awaited beers, with people arriving from every state and even from abroad to sample it, often waiting in line for hours.

Last year, with the opening of its new production brewery in Windsor, Russian River was able to more than triple the production of Pliny the Younger, thus reducing wait times and being able to supply more off-site accounts. Clearly taking advantage of that increased production capacity, and seeking to “find ways to add to … guests’ experience”, Russian River will, for the first time, bottle Pliny the Younger.

According to the announcement made by Natalie Cilurzo on Dec. 23rd (though her blog post is dated Dec. 24th), in 2020 Russian River will offer 510 ml. bottles of Pliny the Younger for sale at their brewery in Windsor and the pub in Santa Rosa. However, each guest will be limited to two bottles, and in order to be eligible to purchase them, guests must “come for the full experience in our brewpubs”, which will be tracked via the wristbands each will receive upon entering.

Pliny the Younger will be available from February 7th to the 15th 20th at Russian River, and offsite draft distribution will start the 2nd week of February. Like last year, pours of Pliny the Younger will also be offered to those who book brewery tours during the release period.

Nightshade by Epidemic Ales

When one operates a small craft brewery the vicissitudes of barrel-aging beers means that one cannot foresee with any great anticipation when a such a beer will be released. It will be ready when it is ready, as they say.

Well, yesterday was the release of this year’s batch of Nightshade by Epidemic Ales. I was reminded of why I so much look forward to when this beer comes out.

Nightshade is a 10.3% abv vanilla stout. It is released on tap at the brewery in Concord, CA, and in 22-oz. bottles, about once a year, after spending, if I recall correctly, up to six months or so in Bourbon barrels.

It is a gorgeous beer; intensely dark, with deep mahogany tones, and a moderate head. It doesn’t have any harsh coffee notes or overt bitterness. Instead it is rich and smooth, with notable sweetness, and plenty of vanilla -some undoubtedly contributed by the oak.

With its high alcohol content, Nighshade does pack a punch despite not having any alcoholic or Bourboney “heat”. So, while it goes down easily at any time of day, a 22-ouncer of Nightshade is particularly nice shared as part of a dessert course; specially at this time of year.

“Sara’s Boots are Pink” -Fundraiser for Pink Boots Perú

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch of “Las botas de Sara son rosadas” (Sara’s boots are pink), the newest beer from Barranco Beer Company in Lima.

Las botas de Sara son rosadas is a 25 IBU, 5.6% abv, schwartzbier. It has a dark, coffee color, light hop aroma with a caramelish background. Flavourwise, it is smooth, with a nice malt backbone, and mild bitterness. Very easy to drink.

Las botas de Sara son rosadas was designed by Barranco Beer Co.’s new brewer, Joe Fort (of the Red Cervecera), and co-brewed by him and Barranco Beer Co.’s founder and ambassador, Sara Lefevre.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of Las botas de Sara son rosadas will go to defray the cost of sending Sara and other members of Pink Boots Perú to the upcoming Meeting of Latin American Women in Brewing in Quito, Ecuador.

Las botas de Sara son rosadas is available on draft at Barranco Beer Company, at 308 Ave. Almirante Grau, in Barranco, and, I presume, soon at their taprooms in the Mall del Sur and Plaza Norte shopping malls.

What to expect in this year’s Pliny the Younger release

Every year Russian River Brewing stages what is arguably one of the most anticipated events in the Beer Geek Calendar: the release of one of world’s most famous beers, Pliny the Younger.

It probably hardly needs mention by now, but Pliny the Younger is a triple IPA -the world’s first, in fact- which means that it has more of everything that goes into an IPA. It clocks in at a bit over 10% abv, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 90-100 IBU. It is released only once per year, for a two-week period. It is served on tap at Russian River Brewing, only for in-house consumption, and only until each day’s allotment runs out. Only a very small amount goes out in kegs to select accounts.

This year Pliny the Younger will be released on February 1st and be served until the 14th.

In years past, people have been known to wait in line for up to twelve hours in order to get into the pub, and sometimes the day’s allotment ran out before the line cleared. However, with the opening of the new brewery in Windsor, Russian River is hoping that things will be different from now on.

First of all, there is the obvious advantage of having the beer released simultaneously at two different locations: the original brewpub on 4th Street, in downtown Santa Rosa, and the Windsor brewpub.

Then, there is the increase in output. Not only is the Windsor brewhouse’s capacity triple that of the 4th Street brewhouse, but Russian River’s brew staff pulled out all the stops and ran four back-to-back brews of Pliny the Younger, in a marathon, 24-hour brew session! This year’s batch of Pliny the Younger is 300 barrels.

The dregs of Pliny the Younger left behind in the open-top fermenter after transfer to the finishing tanks (January 4th, 2019).

With that amount, Russian River will be able to provide, not only full allotments to both pubs, but also larger allotments than have been available in the past. The hope is that thus they will be able to lessen wait times for guests and not have anyone go away disappointed.

This year will also provide other contrasts with those of years past. For one thing, no one yet knows what the effect will be on the yeast and the beer of the much larger batch size. Nor, does anyone really know what, if any, difference being fermented in open-top fermenters instead of closed-top fermenters will make. Russian River employees that I spoke to last week were intrigued and excited to find out

While no one knows precisely what to expect this year in terms of lines and wait times, the staff’s recommendation is to skip downtown, and head for the larger pub in Windsor. Not only should its greater capacity help move people through faster, but its 2 acres of free parking will save you from the worry of feeding the meter and having to move the car every two hours.

Another thing to note: This year, Russian River will be serving Pliny the Younger to guests on the guided tour at Windsor between Feb. 1st and Feb. 14th. Booking a tour will not get one into the pub any faster, but it is a way to get to get a taste of Pliny the Younger without standing in line. Weekend bookings are pretty full, but as of now there are still plenty of spaces on weekdays, specially in the second week. Go to Russian River’s webpage to book.

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