The beer that is close to a Rare Barrel flagship is back. It is hard to spell but Ensorcelled is worth it. It is a “Dark Sour Aged in Oak Barrels with Raspberries. This years batch is giving chocolate covered raspberries, an enchanting balance of sweet and sour.”
This hazy (brewed on the ancestral lands of the Ohlone People) pours a hazy orange juice color. There is a slight brush of orange juice before a wave of pine takes over. The beer is still pretty soft texturally. I also get a gin-like botanical note as well. All very woodsy.
Readers will know that I like, really like, The Rare Barrel and Strata Hops are gold to me, so, obviously this beer struck me.
“Thanks to a windfall of wet Strata hops, Space Jellies comes to life through one of the more unique processes that we employ at the brewery. Hundreds of pounds of whole-cone wet Strata hops were added directly to oak barrels where they were conditioned upon a unique mixed fermentation beer for nine months. Loaded with bright berry and melon-like aromas and boasting notes of juicy pineapple and watermelon.”
Two wild ale West Coast giants have a new collaboration blend as The Rare Barrel and de Garde Brewing have come together for Bright for Days. According to TRB, the beer “incorporates a variety of mixed fermentation barrels with some of our spontaneously fermented stock from the 2017 season. Utilizing a unique application of peach tree blossoms and leaves, the beer exhibits a bright fruity aroma supported by mild amaretto-like notes. Conditioned with cultures from both breweries, Bright For Days is a true exhibition of two mixed fermentation philosophies coming together.”
I have been a loyal subscriber to Beer Advocate magazine and have read about their various and sundry events on the other coast and finally (perhaps as a Christmas present) I got to cover the first Los Angeles appearance of the Extreme Beer Fest.
And the locale turned out to be unexpected in a John McClane bursting through plate glass windows via fire hose kind of way with Alan Rickman shooting weaponry behind. Up on the lucky 13th floor of the California Market in DTLA, beers lined the walls…
Beers from East Coast to West were on offer. A list over 250+ long and most extreme in the ABV definition of the word. My three best breweries of Session 1 were de Garde from coastal Oregon, Finback from NYC and The Rare Barrel from the Bay Area. All three were basically walk up and order a beer affairs since the madding crowds had decided (apparently in advance and without input from me) that Great Notion. J. Wakefield and Weldworks were to be the darlings of the ball.
The empty floor turned out to be a great idea. Traversing back and forth was easy with the occasional cutting through snaking lines. Water was available in plentiful amounts as was food (including donuts and the awesome Beer Belly). The program for the event was helpful and the glasses were one of the rare style that I actually didn’t want to leave at the event. A little plastic wine glass minus stem with a divot for your dainty finger to hold.
I tasted 15 beers over a few hours and ran across quite a few that I need to recommend. Polyphonic DIPA from Finback was tied with DeLorean Dust from Alvarado Street for best hoppy offering. Sours was a two way race between de Garde and Rare Barrel with Purple Kriek and The Florist almost equal to Sloe Daze and An Awfully Big Adventure from the latter. But the Iced version of Spittin’ and Cussin’ from Smog City was near those peaks as well. Captain Lawrence, which used to be a darling, seemed ignored for some strange reason because their NE IPA Powder Dreams was excellent as was their brett’d IPA.
This event showcased that Beer Advocate has done this before. The lines were set-up, elevator help had been enlisted and all seemed smooth. There could have been more tables (two-tops) so that people could photograph the beers (hint hint) but the views were amazing….
One of my favorites in the brewing world and one that I gravitate towards at any festival is The Rare Barrel. And as a pre-#LABW9 treat, on June 16th founder Alex Wallash will be at Beer Belly with some of his sours in tow (possible rare ones too!)
Here is the Taplist:
1. Across The Sea
3. Seditious Ways
5. Tropical Humor
6. Shades of Cool
7. Home Sour Home
8. Map of the Moon
9. Apropos of Nothing 2016
10. Wise Guise 2016
To work around the big, big start up costs in equipment and material, new breweries have turned to Kickstarter or they have had their beer brewed for them but this is the first time that I have seen a brewery just begin with barrel aging space. Barring Almanac Farmhouse ales (also of the northern part of California) that has a similar working style.
Here is what the press release says about The Rare Barrel, “Northern California is rich in brewing tradition and is home to some of the best breweries in the world. Hoping to add to this proud history, we are pleased to announce that we will be launching an all-sour, all-barrel aged “gypsy” brewery in the San Francisco Bay Area named The Rare Barrel.
What do we mean by “gypsy” brewery? We plan to partner with the great breweries of the Bay Area for our brewing needs, and we will be building our own barrel warehouse for fermentation, packaging and serving our beers to the public.
Our team is made up of people committed to producing the highest quality sour beer. Co-founders Jay Goodwin, former Brewer and Head of Barrel Aging at The Bruery in Orange County, Alex Wallash, homebrewer and Sales Representative in biotechnology, and Brad Goodwin, entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry, make up our crew of passionate craft beer lovers.
We hope to release more details of our plan over the next few months. We look forward to producing beer with experimental methods, a singular focus on quality sours, and a commitment to the craft beer community.”