* We may have skipped the bottle-only barrel-aged stuff, on account of the fact that we were already coming up with 28 beer and candy pairings without including them.
Howdy, friends! We're havin' ourselves a ding-dong-doozy of a time comin' up with some fun stuff to do as "outdoor season" starts to (hopefully very slowly) wind down and we start to see the approach of "hide inside under a pile of blankets" season. But! We're not throwin' in that towel just yet, which means we've! Got! Fun! Stuff!
And first on that ol' docket is CANDY! Yes indeedy, we put the ol' production team through the gustatory wringer and wrote up a menu that pairs each* of our beers with two different Halloween candies (one chocolate, one non-chocolate)! And since we spent all that time laborin' over a pile of candy, we figured we'd share the results of our research, which means that from Friday the 23rd through Sunday the 1st we'll be offerin' up candy with flights and full pours!
With that being said, we don't recommend that you eat 30 pieces of candy in one sitting and then wash it down with six beers (unless you would like to channel the mood in the above picture).
And! Speaking of cool Halloween stuff, we also want to remind you that next weekend, on Halloween itself, we're bringin' back our dog costume contest! We'll give away silly prizes and we'll drink some dog-themed beer and there'll be treats and merriment and probably at least one dog that manages to get its head stuck inside a different dog's costume, without anybody noticing until it's far too late to easily fix.
(Also of note, there may well be another pinball-centric event in the works, but we gotta iron out some details before we can make an Official Announcement on that front).
Oh and also we've got a buncha cool beers in the pipeline that'll be comin' out in the coming weeks, including our upcoming collab with Lesser Glow! As you may have noticed, we're generally fans of the "heavy metal" around here, so when we heard that Lesser Glow wanted a beer to pair with their latest release, we jumped at the chance! Aaaaand then that plan got kinda pushed to the backburner because we started talking about this collaboration in the late winter/early spring and, well, you all remember what happened back then. But anyway! We're back on track (or at least we're on what "on track" looks like these days) and we came up with a rad-as-hell beer to pair with their latest album and it's in the tanks right now! We've still got a couple weeks before it's ready, but we're jazzed to be doin' any sort of collabs again, so we figured we'd give you the "inside scoop" and let you know to keep them eyes peeled!
* We may have skipped the bottle-only barrel-aged stuff, on account of the fact that we were already coming up with 28 beer and candy pairings without including them.
Well hello there! It's been a downright eventful week around here what with all the stuff that we've been doing and whathaveyou. Anyway, some of that stuff involved beer in cans and/or pinball and/or old houses and/or dogs and/or a weird fascination with the side-effects of how old-timey politics influence agriculture, so if any of that's in your ol' mental wheelhouse, read on!
Aaaaand startin things swingin' right out the gate, the first run of our canning line was an unrivaled* success! Or at least it was in the sense that there were very few literal fires during the run. Anyway. We're up and runnin' and there's no stopping now so we'll be cannin' up a whole buncha beer as often as we can! If nothing else, this dang line** is gonna have to pay its own ticket around here and - I don't know if you knew this - but canning lines cost at least fifty dollars. Sometimes more.
Anyway, the first beer off the line was a one-off (as is our wont around here), and in this particular case it was a hoppy saison made to feature the new-to-us hop Sabro™! (And, of course, we named the beer Sabrobro). Sabro™ is a pretty intriguing hop to us, for two related reasons: a) the flavor descriptors given by hop growers are completely wild: mint and passionfruit and cedar and coconut are pretty much all over the map flavor-wise, so we felt like we had to see what this hop was all about; and 2) Sabro™ is a hop that has neomexicanus heritage, which we're honestly pretty jazzed about.
Long story short(er), neomexicanus hops are (as far as we know) indigenously American, which is surprisingly uncommon in commercial hop varieties - if you look in to hop lineage for most of the well-known varieties (and, realistically, who among us doesn't read about hop genetics from time to time), there will often be a small percentage of each variety's heritage attributed to "wild American" (which, if we understand correctly, is basically like saying "I dunno, maybe it cross-pollinated with some shit that was growing in the woods," only you're not supposed to say it that way if you're a plant geneticist) but overall they can be traced back to Europe.***
And because of that, the conventional knowledge says that hops can only grow in areas that more-or-less mimic the climate of the hop growing regions in Europe (specifically Czechia, Germany, and England), and around here that means the Pacific Northwest (and also upstate New York, but that's a different story). But then some people (possibly a monastery?) found some hops not only growing but flourishing somewhere out in New Mexico and it turns out that these hops are genetically distinct from the ones we're used to and we're now getting to a point where there are enough neomexicanus hops being grown that event tiny-assed breweries like us get to play around with them and we think that's cool as hell!
Anyway the point is that American hops (especially the wild-grown ones) were kinda looked down on for a few hundred years or so**** but now people are getting in to these crazy hops that have adapted to growing in the damn desert (and/or pretty much anywhere, as far as we can tell) and we're stoked to get to know them!
And while we're on about neomexicanus and crazy hop varieties, we should also mention that this Friday we'll be canning up our new IPA: Multihead! Multihead (the beer) is named for Multihead (the hop variety) which is - you guessed it - another neomexicanus hop! This hop has a much more sane list of flavor descriptors (it's mostly a list of fruits, which is what we're used to), so we felt the need to cram a whole shitload of it into one beer! And as an added bonus, we decided to make this a dog beer!
We're takin' a small turn from our usual M.O. with dog beers - this time around we partnered up with Last Chance Animal Rescue to try and bring some attention to them and their adoptable dogs. Long story short, Last Chance - in addition to trying to find homes for animals in need - has a farm in North Carolina (St. Francis Farm, specifically) that provides a home for animals who might not otherwise be able to find one. Anyway, we featured one of their adoptable dogs (a fun-loving floofy boy named Dexter) on the can for Multihead and we encourage you to check them out because they're doing some great things for some good pups!
Anyway, moving on from hop genetics and/or dog farms, this Friday we're also canning up an old favorite of ours and that's Lazy Pants! Basically, Lazy Pants came about because we wanted to make a light-colored chocolate beer and then at some point we figured that raspberry would be pretty good in there, and it was, so we made it again! And now you can have some!
And. And! Now that we're done with our "Hop Facts You Don't Care About" section of the blog, we're pleased to announce that we have some upcoming events! Remember those? Events?
Anyway, first up is Thursday, Friday and Sunday of this week and that's Pinball With A Breeze! Basically, Pinball Mitch got a bit stir-crazy spending six months flappin' his flippers all by his lonesome, so he convinced us to bring in as many games as we're comfortable with (in this case, three) and set them up as close as we could to Outside without exposing them to the elements and yada yada yada social distancing but anyway we - for one brief, shining weekend (not counting Saturday) - will have pinball back!
Then on Saturday we're gettin' old-school, both in terms of "history" and also in terms of "doing things the way we used to do them back in April" and that obviously means an educational drinking conference call about a historical house! There is a broader context for all of that, but all you really need to know is that this event is more fun than it seems like it should be, and the proceeds go to a good cause (specifically the Wakefield Historical Society) and you should come join us!
Also! As our "farther in the future" event reminder, we gots to let you know that we're doing another dog costume party/contest this year! When we reflected on last year's dog costume party, we realized that it was pretty much "socially distanced" by default***** so we figured we'd go for it again! As always, there won't be any changes to our standard beer garden policies (in terms of time limits on tables, reservations, requiring animals to be well-behaved, etc.), but we'll have a dog-themed beer and a dog-themed pop-up and some stupid prizes and also some candy and it'll be a good time!
And speaking of candy, we're doin' our beer and Halloween candy pairings again this year! For those of you not "in the know," we figure out candy pairings for every beer on our menu (and, just to be clear, this is all field-tested. In one sitting. Each person in production consumes an amount of candy that can only be described as "upsetting." Oh, the things we do for our craft), and for the 23rd through the 31st, flights and full pours will come with candy!
And as a final note, amongst all the talk of cans and canning lines and us definitely not encouraging you to drink while you're out walkin' around even though a koozie pretty much covers the whole can label if you were to do so, it behooves us forsooth to notify you posthase as to the wherewithal of our esteemed Beer Garden. In short, we're coming to the end of the magical three-week period where we actually have Fall Weather around here and we're gonna start encountering more and more conditions that we can't fix with heat lamps.
We're gonna hold out with our outdoor seating for as long as we can (odds are you're gonna need a beer or six on election day, no matter what happens), but we (including our staff) don't really feel safe having people congregate indoors (and yes, we've thought about putting up a big tent or something outside, but that just takes all the problems of being inside and moves them to a place that is - by definition - worse), so we're slowly getting used to the idea that things around here are gonna start looking pretty similar to the way they did six months ago (i.e. to-go only, deliveries, et cetera), hence the slow reintroduction of virtual events.
We don't know for certain how things will play out (we get the same news that you do. And honestly, we were kinda expecting another lockdown), but we figure it ain't hurt to lay the groundwork. It's gonna be a long winter, so get all the Fall Time in that you can, while you can. Cheers or whatever.
* "Unrivaled" means "modest," right?
** Our canning line is, tentatively, named Phyllis.
*** To the best of my knowledge, hop plants in general started somewhere in Asia and then spread to Europe where they really flourished, and nowadays there aren't a whole lot of hops coming out of Asia (at least not on the export market, with the exception of a couple Japanese varieties). But also that might be wrong?
**** You mean to tell me that British colonists might look down on things that weren't native to England? That can't be right.
***** With the exception of the children running around, which was an unexpected twist last year that we now know to watch for.`
Howdy, friends! We've got some big, fun news to share this week, which - you guessed it - means we're gonna start by talking about a whole bunch of other unrelated stuff at length before we get to the "hot goss."
Ah, to hell with it. We! Have! A! Canning! Line! It's gonna mean a lot of Learning Experiences™ for the ol' production staff, which generally manifests in the form of a whole lotta noodle scratchin' and tweakin' settings and honestly a lot more shouting at inanimate objects than you'd really expect (and, if you know us, you probably already expect a considerable amount). Anyway, we're hoping that this will be (or at least appear) pretty seamless for all y'all, but there's bound to be a hiccup or ten and some weird side-effects, but the point is that we're super stoked that we're in control of our own destiny or whatever! And just to "clear the air" on some questions y'all might have, here's some Q&A!
I thought you were already canning?
We were! We are! When we started canning, we signed on with a mobile canning company called State 64, which is run by a group of downright great people. And mobile canners, for those of you not "in the know" basically just roll up to our digs with their own canning line (and cans, and trays, and - in the case of State 64 - a kitchen sink that's supported by milk crates) and hook up some hoses to our tanks and can our beer for us and go about their merry way. We thoroughly enjoyed working with State 64, but at some point over the summer we decided it was Time To Move On, and we started the oddly-arduous process of ordering a piece of equipment.
What made you switch from State 64?
Honestly? 90% of it was scheduling. They're busy folks (unsurprisingly, a lot of breweries leaned pretty hard into canning once that whole pandemic hit) and we can only schedule them for two days per month, which can do a pretty mean number on our production schedule. Plus, State 64 is doing a pretty big service to the industry by making canning accessible to hella small breweries (like us), and if we can free up some of their schedule then that makes way for somebody else to be able to get their beer on shelves.
You mentioned "weird side-effects." What would those be?
The most obvious side-effect is actually tangentially/confusingly related to the pandemic (and maybe the ongoing trade war with China and/or the tariffs on imported metals? Unclear) and anyway the point is that we'll be temporarily switching to plastic four-pack holders. Long story short, cans are super hard to get right now* and our current can supplier (one of the few suppliers who is willing/able to supply us) only sells cans as a "package deal" sort of thing (cans, lids, trays, pakteks), which means our hands are tied for a bit. But never fear! We're gonna keep the ol' "ear to the ground" and figure out a way to get back to the old cardboard/environmentally friendly carriers that we all know and tolerate.
Anything else we should know?
Probably! Most importantly, this also means that we're no longer tied to our previous twice-per-month can release schedule, which means we're able to release new cans all the time! We won't, but it's exciting to know that we could.
Oh! And! Lastly! We've mentioned a time or two that we're hiring, and we figure it bears mentioning that we're formally/officially/finally closing applications this Friday! We assume anyone who wants to apply has already done so, but this here's last call for your last chance! Apply here.
* This is probably more "inside baseball" than most of you really care about, but the main reason (that we've heard, anyway) is that since all 7,000 breweries in the country had to abruptly switch to "to-go only" for their service model, that created a huge spike in demand for cans, without much surplus production capability. On top of that, canned beverages are becoming more popular in other market segments (or whatever the Business Guy term is) like coffee and kombucha and those weird beer/fruit puree blends that explode and hurt people if you let them warm up, not to mention the increase in popularity of hard seltzer (which is big enough that it's attracted the attention of several Global Megacorps, and which is also served almost exclusively in cans), which - coupled with the increase in cost of imported aluminum - adds up to can shortages, particularly for people who aren't buying them by the literal truckload (which would be us).
Well hello there!
First on up, which is to say right about right now, is the long-awaited* release of our newest wild beer (which is to say, our newest Spawn Of Critters), and that's Kegasus! Kegasus is a blend of several different beers of varying vintages, and it manages to be an alluring array of contradictions: it seems sweet, yet it's bone dry; it's not shy with the funk, but it's very approachable; it's light on the palate, yet mysteriously dark and brooding. Anyway, we feel like we're really hittin' our stride on the ol' funky beers, so this is one we're pretty durn proud of and now we've got it in bottles and on tap and you should come try it!
Oh, and speaking of beer in bottles, last week saw the rerelease of an old favorite: Rebello Fellow! And it's available in bottles right now and on tap in the near future! We originally brewed this to celebrate the US citizenship of a Friend Of The Brewery (namely Victor), but we liked it a whole bunch and decided to re-brew it as our 400th batch! But then scheduling got in the way of that specific brewday, so not unlike the forgetful boyfriend who declares that February 15th is "our Valentine's day," we brewed it a bit (okay, a lot) later as a belated celebration of a milestone that pretty much nobody other than us cares about! Anyway it's delicious and it has never been the source of any bad decisions in the past and you should drink some. )
And speaking of Friends Of The Brewery, we brewed up yet another beer for Bubs' house! See, Bubs lives in the historical Hartshorne House in Wakefield, and for the past several years we've been a part of fundraiser events there where we brew up a special beer and then serve it at the house and we stand in front of groups of people and awkwardly stammer about our brewery and also there's some pretty friggin' cool history talks by people who are not us (including but not limited to a different Friend Of The Brewery, namely Malcolm, who is our Enthusiastic History Friend) and anyway we're not able** to do an in-person event this year so we're doing a virtual tasting*** and it's for a good cause (the house, in case you've forgotten) and you should join us!
Oh, and the beer we brewed for this event is going to be available at the brewery starting on Friday and it's an all-local pale ale called History Mysteries and we honestly kind of stretched the whole "historically inspired" concept that we usually go for with these events (and, to be honest, we weren't starting from a strong foundation of historical fact anyway) but that's neither here nor there because the beer is tasty and that's what's important!
Grab your tickets for the virtual tasting here: Boning Up on History
And. Lastly. Since we're on about bringing back old favorites (or at least we were a few paragraphs ago), we're bringin' back another old favorite! Thassright, Ginger Spectacular is gonna be back in cans starting on Friday! You've already come to know and love (and possibly fear) this beer, and now it's back and you should come have some!
* Or at least it would have been long-awaited if we'd ever told y'all about it previously, instead of vaguely alluding to it at the end of a blog post several weeks back.
** As you might imagine, the average age of people in the local historical society is loosely what you would call "not young." You get the distinct impression that for many of these people it's less "learning about the past" and instead much closer to "nostalgia."
*** Remember those? From the spring? Those things we got all jazzed about for like two months until we all abruptly stopped talking about them forever?
Hi friends! I hope you're well. And I also hope you wanna hear us prattle on about beer, because that's probably what we're about to do!
First on up, it behooves us to mention that we've got the last-ever log of Soiree on tap right now and pourin' until it kicks! This here barrel-aged beauty was a fast favorite when it was first released (which also happened to coincide with the beginning of Lockdown Season, but that was not intentional) and we (possibly literally) stumbled across a log of it and figured that we can't in good faith not put it on tap, so it's on tap! So in other words, if you were a fan you should probably come grab some while we still got some!
And speaking of beers that we've got in vanishingly-small quantities, we brewed up a batch of a delightful autumn-inspired butternut-squash-infused golden-hued modestly-strong beer and most of it is destined for some secret barrels (which should be ready just in time for squash season to be over), but we didn't have enough barrels for the full batch so now you get to have some Squash Your Enemies on tap! Right now!
And since we're talkin' about beers on tap and/or beers in bottles, it behooves us to mention that we've got a beverage destined for both bottle and tap later this week whose details we can't quite divulge just yet, suffice to say that it's the return of a blast from the past that has previously managed to get several of us on staff* into some shenanigans, which means we're highly anticipatin' its return so keep them eyes peeled!
Oh! Also! We've shouted a time or two about the fact that we're currently hiring in production right now, but we figure we'll shout about it just a bit more, since we plan to stop taking applications at the end of the month. So! If you're lookin' to get them hands dirty in the brewery, don't hesitate to check out our job posting and drop us a line!
Oh! And! In other exciting news, have we mentioned that we've fired up our new fleet of heat lamps to keep you toasty? Thassright, we're trying to keep patio season going as long as possible this year, so don't be shy about coming out to grab a little slice of paradise while the gettin' is good!
Howdy-do, friendaroos! It's about gettin' to be that time of year - the thermometer dipped below 65 one time and all of a sudden we're seein' the phrase "pumpkin spice" turn up in all sorts of weird places.
But more to the point, it's when we start sayin' goodbye to the birthday beers (we've got a scant handful of mix packs left, but we're hella low on a couple* of the beers) and we start sayin' hello to our flannels again! And this year it's a particularly interesting time, because the writing's on the wall for the end of Beer Garden Season (we got some heat lamps, but they're not, like, magic heat lamps that'll stop it from raining sideways or otherwise Being November outside when the time comes) so if you wanna cram in all the parking lot drinking** you can, come on out and hang out!
And speaking of chillier weather,*** we're delighted to rerelease our twice(ish)-per-year recurring beer: Joybringer! I daresay we missed havin' this beer around, so we whipped up a big ol' batch (much of which has gone into barrels for Secret**** Future Projects) and it's back in bottles right now and on draft on Thursday and we are just dang delighted to have this big little tripel back in our lives!
And speaking of (not so) old favorites, we had us a hankerin' for some hoppy ol' Wellington (there were also Reasons, but they're moot now) so we made us some Wellington and it's goin' into cans on Friday and you should come grab some!
Oh! Also! We took advantage of the post-birthday lull that we tend to see every year (it turns out that when you release seven new beers at once, you stop needing to release new beers for a week or two) and we've been busy bees with brett beers! We've been barreling and blending and just gettin' all kinds of funk all up in, and we don't have anything to show for it right this minute, but we figured we'd give y'all a heads up to keep an eye out for some new funky stuff! (And also we should probably point out that our supplies of the current funky stuff - Critters 9 and 10, to be precise - is starting to dwindle, so you may wanna get on it if either of those floats your boat).
* We might, somehow, run out of Organ Meats before we run out of anything else. Gotta say that's the opposite of what we were expecting. Maybe this will be the year for smoked beer!
** And hot dogs. Let's not forget them hot dogs, folks!
*** No, Craig, we haven't made Pretend It's Summer again. Not yet, anyway.
**** Calling them a "secret" sounds so much better than admitting that we don't plan ahead.
Howdy friends! It's certainly been a rollercoaster of a time since the last time we met up on this ol' blog, I tells you what. But we'll get to all that in a bit - we like to do what we can to stay upbeat* around here, so we'll start with the good stuff!
First and/or foremost, we'd like to extend the sincerest of thank-yous to all of y'all who made it out to our birthday "party" on Saturday! It may not have been the pretty princess prancing pony party we were envisioning (we had so many ideas! Like maybe hiring an actual sound person for the bands! Or setting up an actual stage! Or hiring a clown to follow Chris around and annoy him all day!), but in the end we still got to drink tasty beers and eat good food and we got to see a bunch of friends, and in the end that's really why we're doin' all this in the first place, so we'll call it a success. In other words: thanks for coming out, it was good to see you.
And. Moving on to some "news you can use," it is hitherto advantageous that we inform you posthaste of the fact that we! Are! Hiring! Thassright, anybody who's lookin' to get "into the fray" in the professional Glorified Janitor biz is encouraged to click on over to our job posting and send an application our way! As we are wont to do with this sort of thing, we'll be keepin' the application open and taking resumes for a few weeks, which likely means you'll be hearin' us shout about this for a bit, but that means you got a minute to "polish up" the ol' CV and/or spread the word and anyway we look forward to seeing what kind of weird stuff you decided was "resume-worthy" so send 'em on over!
Lastly, we should probably (sigh) talk about the fact that we recently made the news for the second** time*** in the past three weeks. It's a bummer of a situation, and we're not generally the "air our dirty laundry in public" type, but this all pertains to a public health issue so it's really not our place to keep mum, is it?
Anyway. As we were about to start prepping to open on Monday, we got a call from somebody who said that they had been in our beer garden on Sunday, and that they (or somebody in their party, we're not 100% clear but also that's not an important detail) had recently tested positive for covid...
...they were seated at the table farthest from all the other tables. You know, the one that's way up in the corner on the patio and kinda bunched up over there (i.e. the one farthest from the stairs)? The "it's better than nothing" table? That one. Going from the notes we took and the information they gave us, it looks like it was a party of four that was there from about 2:30-3:30...
...once we found out what had happened, we called everybody who had been at the nearest table during/after their visit, as well as the people who sat at that table after them (several hours later, mind you). That ended up being a grand total of two or three parties (again, it's not our most sought-after table)...
...to be perfectly frank, we're confident enough in our safety measures that we don't believe anybody (staff or customers, excluding the other people at that table) would have been at risk. If you think about it, all of the safety protocols that we currently employ were put in place for exactly this reason. But since we like to get knowledge from knowledgeable people rather than our own conjecture, we sought opinions from somebody smarter than us (in this case, a doctor), who confirmed our suspicions that risk to others should be minimal (and who also pointed out that there are valid reasons why the customer in question might have had no reason to believe that they might be covid-positive)...
...but, since we pride ourselves on a) transparency, and 2) going overkill on sanitation/safety, we felt that it would be best to close for the day on Monday and scrub the everlovin' hell out of anything and everything in the beer garden/taproom (and also insist that everybody who had been working that day get tested). We also felt that it made sense to be as upfront as possible about why we closed for the day, since that's the kind of thing that we would want to know if roles were reversed...
...and then at some point we got a call from a reporter who had heard "all over social media" that we were "forced to close for the day," which was perhaps a smidge more dramatic than we would have liked (we closed voluntarily, and as far as we know we were the only ones talking about it on social media), but the article**** that they wrote didn't sensationalize the situation, so that's really neither here nor there...
...and now we're getting a bunch of weird emails from people saying things like "I heard all your employees got covid," which is pretty much the opposite of the truth and also not making this any easier for anyone.
So. That's the lowdown from our side of the story, and it all kinda boils down to the fact that we've been doing everything that we can to keep everybody as safe as we possibly can, but that doesn't mean it doesn't scare the bejesus out of us for a bit when that all gets put to the test.
(As a bit of a postscript, this sheds light into our thought process behind a question that we get asked often, but seldom have an answer to: "what happens when it gets cold out?" But considering how much worse this would have been if we'd all been in a poorly-ventilated, moderately-cramped room instead of outside in the sun and the breeze, you can pretty easily guess which way we're leaning on that one.)
* I was gonna say "positive" instead of "upbeat," but that seems ill-advised.
** And third.
*** The first time it was the Boston Business Journal, who quoted us - at some length - making fun of the governor.
**** We still haven't seen the TV segment, but we're assuming that's also pretty straightforward. We weren't able to talk with the interviewer for that station, but that's probably in everybody's best interest, given our collective public speaking skill.
Well, shit. We tried. But good ol' Mother Nature had some other ideas about whether or not we should have hosted our covid-compliant socially-distanced birthday-related semi-celebrations last week, so instead it was just a regular ol' rainy Saturday.
But! Setbacks end up being the name of the game around here half the time anyway, so we'll persevere or whatever and get festive this coming Saturday instead! That means we'll have the same meats and the same treats on the same schedule that we woulda done last week - which is to say, Po'Boys and Pies from 12-5 and T.C. Scoops from 6-9 - and, since y'all have been extra special good, we're doin' another bottle release this week!
Thassright, this time around we're releasin' Ginger Disco - it'll be available in bottles on Saturday and on tap at some point. This here's another barrel-aged spin on taproom-favorite Ginger Spectacular, only this time we aged that sucker in a Summer Reserve barrel from our friends around the way at Short Path!
Long story short, Summer Reserve is an intensely fruity blueberry liqueur which, when paired with strong ginger farmhouse, gives you a sweet (yet still moreish) smooth sipper which we daresay would pair perfectly with a scoop or two of ice cream (and maybe some fruit crumble if you're feelin' fancy). Or, to paraphrase one of the members* of our tasting panel, it tastes like what you'd find on the inside of stuffed French toast, which is oddly specific but also oddly accurate. Anyway it's good and you should drink some.
On a completely unrelated note, we had the pleasure of visiting our pals at Four Star Farms for the fifth year in a row last Friday! We crammed as many of the Bone Up Crew as were allowed into our caravan and trekked on out to Central Mass to frolic in the hop yards, pluck cones from the bines, and whiff up all of them fruity aromas for the afternoon. About half of the hops we use in our beers come from right here, and we got a private tour of the hop farming process from ancient dirt to cultivating hop varietals all the way to picking and harvesting (if anyone's interested, they were harvesting Casade (or dare we say... Masscade?) while we were visiting)! Thank you to Liz and the whole L'Etoile family - you never disappoint!
* Hi Ben!
Howdy-do kiddos and squiddos! We turn four this week! FOUR! Can you believe it? It's only been four years already!
Four years ago as of this week, we opened up our fairly tiny taproom with modest expectations and no idea of what we were doing (and, more importantly, no dishwasher) and just five beers on tap (because we didn't exactly have a lot of notice that we'd be allowed to open) and it's a downright massive understatement to say that we were completely floored by the response we got from people right out the gate.
Sure, we were understaffed and most of the furniture was secondhand and we didn't have any outdoor seating and we might have forgotten to take down that Chuck Tingle shrine in the corner, but that was all part of the charm or whatever!
We (re)redoubled our efforts over the course of that year and once we were finally able to celebrate One Glorious Year Open, we threw the biggest party we could cobble together - there was cake and hot sauce (he made a hot sauce just for us! How cool is that?) and another cake and holy shit we had a band (The Weisstronauts! We could not believe that one of our favorite bands agreed to play a show on our loading dock) and yet another cake and roasted pig and lots of beer and food and friendship and good times and also a couch on the patio for good measure and in other words it was - to us, anyway - the best possible celebration of all the cool stuff we've been able to do at our weird little brewery and (more importantly) all the friends we made along the way. Oh, and also there might have been a cake (I've lost track at this point).
Anyway. I'll spare you the rest of the reminiscing. The point is that this is a day that means a lot to us. It's something we look forward to (and obsessively plan) for months in advance, and it straight-up delights us to think up new fun things that we can do (either at the party or in general). It is, hands down, our favorite day of the year, and there's nothing we want more than to be able to share it with you: whether you've been with us since the early days or you just found out we exist, we're glad that you come by. You are, with no exaggeration, the reason we can keep doin' what we're doin' and we're damn grateful for that.
So. With all that in mind, we did everything we could to try and recreate the Birthday Magic given the Current Circumstances and we are determined to have the hap-hap-happiest damn birthday we possibly can.
Sure there won't be a cool show like there usually is, but we put together a pretty rad mix CD featuring everybody who woulda done played that show (and we didn't order all too many copies of that CD, so don't hesitate if you want some Killer Tunez) and we're rockin' the beer garden all day on Saturday and slingin' beers to pair with each of the seven bands and we've got cool merch like we usually do and we're bringin' in some friends to serve up tasty foods and when you sit your ass down at a picnic table in the parking lot you are gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!
And to answer the burning question that we've gotten many* times recently: we do indeed have more hot sauce! Yes indeedy, our friend Alex (from Alex's Ugly Sauce, natch) has seen fit to make us another birthday hot sauce and frankly this might be the best one yet and it's available right now and it's so good!
And while we're on about tasty times, we're bringin' in our pals from PoBoys and Pies (on Saturday of course) and they'll be slingin' some delicious-ass barbecue from noon 'til five!
And. And! Since y'all just straight-up deserve a whole mess o' treats, we're also bringin' in our friends from T.C. Scoops! From six to nine** they'll be doin' ice cream flights (and/or larger portions, if you're not a flight fan) and if you ain't yet had the chance to try their delightful desserts before, you are in for a treat.***
Oh! Also! I almost forgot! Remember when we said there would be an extra special beer release on Saturday? No? That sounds about right (we've had just a few other beer releases lately). But anyway we're releasing Critters X in bottles! And for this here beer (which may well be among the last in the very-small-batch numbered "Critters" series) we decided to "mix it up" a lil' bit and go for the funkiest thing we could make and whoo-ee did we nail it**** on that one! It's bracingly tart, and if you've ever wondered what we mean when we use the word "funky" as a tasting note, then look no further: this is our platonic ideal of funk! Anyway, it'll be available in bottles starting on Saturday and it'll be on draft at some point (we've only got one funk line, because of Reasons) and you should come try some!
* Seriously, we hear this so often it's starting to rival "do you allow dogs"
*** It's been eight months since I've had their apple pie ice cream and I still think about it almost daily.
**** Opinions have been more divided than usual amongst the brewers - some think it's too intense to drink in quantity, while some (specifically Justin) think it's the best beer we've ever made. So in other words we'll let you decide for yourself.
Howdy friends! It's really real! It's really happening! Thassright, this week marks the much-anticipated release of our Illustrated Compendium of Weird Bugs, and What Their Names Might Be If They Were People. And since there's been such an outpouring of support for this project, we're also including an exhaustively-researched appendix detailing whether or not we'd be friends with said bugs (again, if they were people), along with reasons why!
But seriously though. This Friday marks the release of the final* anniversary beers and anniversary swag! And also since we're feelin' fancy we decided to go on ahead and release some other beers as well, just for kicks. Anyway, that's way too much news to cram into one lil' ol' paragraph (our editorial staff** has some sort of issue with giant, unbroken walls of text), so read on!
First on up is the seventh and final birthday beer: Control Is In Your Command! And since this is the fourth dang time we've made a Weisstronauts-inspired beer, we figured we'd make a beer that more-or-less perfectly encapsulates the way we feel about their music - which is to say that it's wonderful, but it's also very hard to explain.
Anyway, for this particular beer we took some Double Key Lime that we'd been aging in a Summer Reserve barrel (for those that aren't in the know, Summer Reserve is an intensely blueberry-forward liqueur made by our friends around the corner at Short Path) and we threw in some Ginger Spectacular and just a splash of regular Key Lime for balance and whoa nelly is there a lot goin' on in this beer! But! Even with all that nonsense, the flavors play nicely with each other and work towards a Harmonious Whole or whatever and anyway it's available in bottles and possibly on draft starting on Friday!
And. AND. To complete the whole anniversary theme, we're also releasing our mix CD on Friday! We gathered up some songs from all seven bands what woulda been playing at our party and put 'em on a CD!*** And it's probably worth mentioning that a portion of the proceeds from CD sales will be donated to the ACLU, and the remaining portion of the proceeds will be going directly to the contributing bands!
And since we're puttin' out that ol' Mix Tape on Friday, we'll also be releasing its associated mix pack the same day! You've already heard us mention that we brewed beers for each of the bands (and if you hadn't, now you have), so we're crammin' 'em all into one weirdass seven-beer mixpack (six cans and one bottle) so you can enjoy the beer and music pairings without having to buy several cases worth of beer! (We do still encourage buying several cases worth of beer if you so desire). And if you're in the ol' Beer Garden and you wanna do the ol' Anniversary Flight like all the cool kids are doing, we'd be happy to oblige (and by "oblige" I mean "throw a mix pack and a bunch of cups on the table and let you sort it out"), but we can't legally give you that much beer at once (at least not for On Premise Consumption) unless you're in a group of at least four, so maybe plan ahead if that's your plan.
And if you wanna double down on all our sweet birthday merch, we will be offering a deal for you starting this very weekend! Grab the CD, mixpack, two can glasses, stickers, and a tank top/t-shirt for $85 with our Cool Kid Anniversary Bundle!
How friggin' cool is that?!
Anyway. Moving on from anniversary-related shenanigans and into regular ol' shenanigans, we've got a new beer coming out in cans on Friday! This here's the latest installment in our series of "IPAs that we dumped a bunch of fruit in" and then we completely lost momentum when it came to naming the beer**** and now you can have some Mango Thango!
But wait! We have more beers for you to drink! The last addition to our Beer Family is Zoopah!, which was brewed to showcase Zuper Saazer, a hop grown by our friends at Hop Head Farms! Now, Hop Head Farms has put a bit of effort into drumming up interest in this hop, which has been tricky since it's kind of new and interesting, but its flavor profile doesn't include any fruits that nobody is actually familiar with (and thus there are fewer people saying "it doesn't really taste like that") (we're looking at you, gooseberry, lulo, lychee, passionfruit, papaya), and it's kind of historical, but not enough so that people can be snotty about it. We happened to be intrigued by the Free nature of these hops, so we used some on the tacit/unspoken agreement that we would give them free marketing/awareness/whatever in exchange. (Consider that deal honored!)
Anyway, we're pretty sure this is Michigan-grown Saaz (unless it's some other hop that has saaz as a parent? Unclear), and Saaz is a Noble Hop, which sure does sound fancy, don't it? But what is a noble hop, anyway? Well, depending on who you ask, you'll get two very different answers: a) something about history and tradition and Europe and they might even use words like "terroir" and "landrace" in a way that almost but not quite convinces you what those words mean, or 2) it's a marketing term that was made up by the hop industry, and a relatively recent one at that. Anyway, we got a whole buncha this hop and we threw it into a grisette and now we'll all get to see what it's about, as a family.
* Probably final, anyway. I can't even keep track anymore.
*** We did consider cassettes, but we figure at least some people still probably have CD players. And before you ask, vinyl would have been crazy expensive and there are very few people who would be willing to pay $65 for an EP that we compiled.
**** We seldom start with a real name for the beers we make (which is why we draw inspiration from such diverse sources as "caller ID" or "thing Jared found on the ground" or "Jeff") and one time we named a beer after a note in the brewlog that was just an acronym for the specialty ingredients in the grain bill and anyway that's how we got our first Cease & Desist.
Jared and Jimbo will tell you some things, sometimes.