On Saturday, December 15, we’ll be releasing six bottles, including a new beer! The Prime Barrel Age, our first 100% mature barrel blend, will be available both on tap and in bottles in our Tasting Room, along with five other new bottles–The Dry Hopped Streams Well, The Wet Hopped Ship, The Easygoing Drink, The Subtle Blend Raspberry Barrels, and The Subtle Blend Montmorency Barrels. We set the official release for all six for Saturday, so as to give our packaging team enough time to get everything labeled, but thanks to the heroic effort they’ve put in over the last couple of days, we’ll have limited quantities of all six available beginning today. When you come by to pick some up, be sure to thank Keyla and John for all their hard work.
Now, about the beer… The Prime Barrel Age is a blend of five barrels plus a little extra from one of our horizontal foudres (previously owned by American Solera). The components were selected by Jason Hansen, our former Lead Fermentationist, and blended together on July 26, for packaging the following day. As we do with all of our beers, we added a small amount of local blackberry honey from The Valley’s Buzz in Concrete, WA just prior to packaging, to provide our house culture of native Skagit Valley yeast a source of sugar to break down, causing natural carbonation to develop inside the bottle and keg. In the case of The Prime Barrel Age, although the beer was fully carbonated and presenting nicely within a few weeks of packaging, we felt that it would benefit from additional aging. Rather than releasing it right away, we decided to hold onto it in our cellar, sampling it periodically, until we felt it had developed the complexity, nuance, and depth of character we were looking for. The end result, while still restrained, balanced, and highly drinkable, is the most overtly oaky, tart, and barnyardy of any of our beers to date.
The label for The Prime Barrel Age was designed and illustrated by our Operations Lead, Jacob Grisham, who also designed and illustrated the labels for for The Wet Hop Ship, The Easygoing Drink, The Subtle Blend Raspberry Barrels, The Subtle Blend Montmorency Barrels, and The Dry Table Mead. Jacob also designed, laid out, and colored the label for The Dry Hopped Streams Well; however, in this case, the original artwork was provided by Scout Caldwell, our former Tasting Room Lead, who also created the illustrations for The Garden Paths Led To Flowered and The Curious Mix Methods, as well as the wall mural and most of the artwork in our Tasting Room.
We began pouring The Dry Hopped Streams Well on draught back in August, as our second beer and third product overall, following The Garden Paths Led To Flowered and The Dry Table Mead . “Streams”, as we like to call it, was made from a light, hoppy, native yeast, foudre-fermented base, blended with roughly 14% mature, barrel-aged beer, dry-hopped with a generous dose of Pacific Northwest whole leaf Cascade and Sterling, and naturally conditioned with Skagit blackberry honey from The Valley’s Buzz. Streams was designed as a Northwestern tribute to some of our favorite light, dry, hoppy Belgian ales, including those made by our friends Yvan De Baets and Bernard Leboucq at Brasserie De La Senne.
When it first debuted, the dry hops in The Dry Hops Streamed Well were, as its name suggests, definitely the star of the show. As it’s matured, however, it has developed a more delicate and sophisticated balance, with the hops–while still firmly present–becoming more deeply integrated, and the character of our native Skagit Valley yeast beginning to show through somewhat more.
The bottle releases of The Subtle Blend Montmorency Barrels, The Wet Hopped Ship, and The Easygoing Drink follow their recent draft releases, as detailed in our previous blog post.
The Subtle Blend Raspberry Barrels was first released in late August. Additional details about it can be found in our September blog post.
It wasn’t necessarily our intent when we brewed these six beers to release all of the bottles at once, but when partnering with nature as we do and giving each product the time it needs, this was how the stars happened to align this week, and we couldn’t be more excited to send all of these products out into the world!