Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Rare Barrel


A pharmaceuticals entrepreneur, a brewer, and homebrewer and biotechnology sales rep walk into 3 Fonteinen......and Cantillon, and Gueuzerie Tilquin, and De Troch.....this isn't a joke however, no, these are madmen with space and 205 red wine barrels just aching to be filled.  But by who?

Jay Goodwin (former brewer and Head of Barrel Aging at The Bruery), Alex Wallash (homebrewer and biotechnology sales rep), and Brad Goodwin (pharmaceutical entrepreneur)  set out with the  idea of all sour beer, all the time.  The plan is to work with select craft breweries with the right sized brewhouse that are relatively close to them.  After the base beer is created, it will then be transported back to The Rare Barrel where fermentation and barrel aging will begin.


While Alex mentioned that they were " excited about experimentation with fermentation in the beginning" they do plan to experiment with spontaneous fermentation in the future.  With the world of sour beers, whether they be American Wild Ales, Flanders Reds, Geuzes, or lambics , the idea for The Rare Barrel couldn't have come at a better time.  




Alex said " We’re going to start out by aging our beers in  oak barrels that were previously used to make red wine. These barrels are particularly good for making sour beer because they have a relatively neutral flavor and most of the astringency from the wood has been stripped from the barrel. Those barrels are just our launching pad though, and we’ll experiment with other kinds of barrels soon."  With such a large surplus of barrels available to them already, and they have plenty of room for more, the plan isn't to have wide distribution just yet, instead, they are going to focus mainly on sales through their tasting room and self-distribution in the Bay Area.  He did say that they will expand from there but as to where that will be, well, our guess is as good as theirs.  


With The Bruery, Crooked Stave, and the relatively new Night Shift Brewery all having a Barrel Society the question came up as to whether or not they were thinking about doing something like that.  Alex didn't dismiss the idea of it, in fact he said that they were considering the idea of some sort of beer club.  He didn't elaborate on that statement but was curious if I would like to see something like that and  what I would like to be included in the club.  


As far as what they have in the works now, Alex said that they didn't have anything in barrels yet but they expect to have a few sour beers ready by the end of 2013, in fact they would like to have beer going into these barrels within one month.


Though I probably won't get my hands on any of their beers, I can definitely say that their idea is something new and something great and I wish them nothing but great things in the future. 




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