The sun is setting over Wild Heaven brewery in Avondale Estates. It’s finally turning cooler in the south, which is perfect “beer and bourbon” weather. But then again, what weather isn’t.
This beer collaboration wasn’t easy to come by. Bulleit Bourbon barrels have never really been available to the broker market. You couldn’t broker a few barrels to age your beer of choice. The whole project exists thanks to industry networking, planning, discussions with the distillery, and of course, your PR push. Remember, beer is as much sales as it is an art form.
There’s Bulleit/Beer cocktails and food from Chef Shay Lavi cooking outside, but I’m here for the beer.
Drawing on something I said in part one of this series. Years ago, possessing a bourbon barrel-aged beer in your cellar meant you were winning. Being good at brewing barrel-aged beer meant understanding where the beer and barrel came together in a unity of amazing flavor. That means making sure it and doesn’t fall flat with no barrel notes, or worse the barrel overruns it. “Not enough barrel aging” was the “too hoppy” 1-Star rating on Untappd of a decade ago.
That’s not the case with Wild Heaven 95 Shilling. It’s the balance of toasty caramel, and rich vanilla oak that blend together in a greater sum of the parts of the process. Exactly what it should be. This beer is an instant reminder of the well-made classics that got so many addicted to craft beer in the first place. Beer meets barrel extremely well with fresh Bulleit barrels for the win.
Josh Franks has been brewing at Wild Heaven for years. In my head, I’ve always thought of him as a quiet creative. A talented brewer that has neither a beard nor a cocky attitude. Franks worked hard creating 95 Shilling, and you can just see the pride beaming through his persistent humility as we talk about this new beer. “I can’t believe how this turned out,” he tells me, trying not to smile mid-sentence. “I was just shooting for it to be good.”
“For me, this is one of the more rewarding parts of what we do,” says Executive Vice President Sarah Young. “The more we can spread Wild Heaven around in front of more than just beer people, is always something we look for.” The list of local partnerships nearly doubled in just 2020 alone. To date they have worked with Atlanta icons like Giving Kitchen, Mercedes Benz Stadium, The Fox Theater, 680 TheFan radio station, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Big Peach Running Co, CURE Childhood Cancer, Stuckey’s Corporation and more. Basically, Young has been busy.
One thing I can tell you for certain. Not every bourbon barrel makes great barrel-aged beer, but after trying Wild Heaven’s and Bulleit barrel collaboration, Bulleit definitely does.
Standing here drinking this beer at the brewery’s bar, campfire smoke heavy cold fall air whips through the open garage doors. For a second it feels like a fun dream after the year we’ve all had. The excitement about beer releases has returned to me. I’ve missed this.
Wild Heaven and Bulleit created a great beer here, with a second creation just a week away. Not everything in 2020 is terrible.
A year ago, two famous Pennsylvania companies – Yuengling and Hershey’s Chocolate announced a one of a kind beer collaboration – Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter. Much to the chagrin of fans of either, it was limited to draft-only, in a handful of locations.
Because 2020 needed good news, this month Yuengling unveiled bottles, destined for wide distribution.
The base beer is Yuengling’s nearly 200-year-old Porter recipe, plus “the world-famous taste of Hershey’s chocolate. Sadly for yet another year we still don’t have answers on the brewing process, but this year – we finally tasted it.
Once you crack open a bottle of Hershey’s Porter, you’re hit with the undeniable smell of Hershey’s chocolate. If you’ve ever toured the factory, or in my case – grew up going to Hershey Park on marching band trips, you’ll never forget that sweet and unique smell. (Yes.. marching band. Keep reading.)
The flavor is equally as real and rich as the smell. The roasty flavor of Yuengling Porter (one of the two beers first introduced by the brewery in 1829) blends beautifully with the Hershey Chocolate flavor. The success of this beer lies in the instantly addictive burst of Hershey’s aroma and flavor. It’s really uncanny.
Chocolate beers in the brewing world are abundant, so when one stands out like this, it’s a gift. Yuengling Porter and Hershey’s are equal partners in flavor. For that reason, it’s a collaboration that truly works.
Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter is a limited release in 12-ounce bottles and draft.
Image: Beer Street Journal
We wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that today, August 1st, is National Mustard Day. There’s a “day” for everything. While you are smothering everything in spicy yellow goodness, there’s a craft beer to pair with it. Oskar Blues Mustard Beer.
It’s craft beer, so you know we aren’t kidding. Oskar Blues partnered with French’s on the collaboration, a tropical wheat beer infused with the yellow stuff. 150 pounds of it to be exact. The result is a wheat beer with a yellowish tinge, boasting flavors of lime, lemon, tangerine, and passion fruit to complement the spice and zip added by the mustard.
Last year French’s made a mustard flavor ice cream for the occasion. We never got to try it, but some folks on social media melted down over its mear existence. (One person even called it a slight against God. That might be a little much.)
Oskar Blues Mustard Beer was available to ship on CraftShack.com, but it sold out pretty much immediately.
Style: Wheat Beer (w/ French’s Mustard)
Availability: 12oz Cans. Limited Release.
Update: Sold out. Everywhere. Next stop, ketchup day.
8th Wonder Viet-Irish Coffee debuts at the Houston, Texas brewery this weekend.
This first bottle release by 8th Wonder is indeed a big one, especially since the brewery calls this beer Imperial Rocket Fuel. Viet-Irish Coffee is based on year-round Rocket Fuel, a 4.6% alcohol robust porter brewed with Greenway Coffee and milk sugar.
This imperial edition features the same locally roasted Greenway Coffee and aged in Jameson Whiskey barrels.
8th Wonder Viet-Irish Coffee will be available in 22-ounce bottles and draft when the brewery opens on Saturday, January 25th.
Image: 8th Wonder
Bell’s Brewery is honoring veterans and active service military with a special beer release for Veteran’s Day. Bell’s Goin’ Dark debuts at the brewery’s Eccentric Cafe on November 11th.
Goin’ Dark is a coffee milk stout brewed with bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans. This beer was visualized, conceived, brewed and packaged by a team of 20 Bell’s employees that served in the military or currently enlisted or have families actively serving.
“It’s an honor to recognize the men and women in our military as well as their families and extend that celebration to those who make that sacrifice.” – Larry Bell, Founder & President
Additionally, Bell’s is working with Section Collection, a nonprofit that provides support for veterans in need.
Bell’s Goin’ Dark will be available exclusively at the Eccentric Cafe on November 11th, in 12-ounce bottles and draft.
Style: Milk Stout (w/ Coffee.)
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft. Brewery Release.
Arrogant Bastard Jägermeister Ale is headed out to select markets now, a Germany brewed special release for the U.S.
A staple in nearly every bar in America – Jägermeister. The herbal liquor is made with 56 different herbs and takes more than a year to produce. Jäger’s headquarters is in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, nearby Stone’s Berlin brewery that they sold this year. The last collaboration from Stone Berlin is debuting this month- Arrogant Bastard Jagermeister Ale.
The base beer is Arrogant Bastard Ale, an American strong ale that is the flagship beer of Stone’s Arrogant Consortia, the cocky brewing subset of Stone Brewing. According to Lizzie Younkin, public relations manager for the brewery, the beer was brewed after the sale by Stone’s brewers that were hired by Brewdog as they took over the Bern facility. A few senior brewers from Stone’s Escondido brewery also traveled to Berlin to oversee the final pieces of this collaboration.
Jagermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is brewed with similar spices as the digestif counterpart according to Stone. While the brewery hasn’t disclosed which spices, some of the most notable in Jager are anise, poppy seeds, citrus peels, juniper berries, licorice, and ginseng.
Neither beverage has now, or ever contained deer blood. Sorry internet theorists.
Jagermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is headed to select markets across the U.S. in October, including California, Colorado, D.C., Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennesee, and Washington.
Style: American Strong Ale (w/ Various spices.)
Availability: 750ml Bottles, Corked & Caged. Limited Release.
Debut: October 2019
The next time Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, they might be able to snag a pint of White Castle Beer as well. The famous burger chain is teaming up with Weyerbacher Brewing on the new burger paired beer.
According to Weyerbacher, early pilot batches were a Kolsch, leading us to believe the launch beer will resemble the same style.
The yet-to-be-named beer is slated to be on tap at White Castle’s nearly 400 restaurants in 13-states, as well as in package at grocery stores where White Castle frozen products are sold. Additionally, states that have frozen White Castle at retail will sell the beer, bringing full distribution area to exceed the 13 states where their restaurants are found.
A spokesperson for White Castle said a timeline for the White Castle beer release has not been set. Distribution of the burger beer will be handled by Weyerbacher Brewing’s distributors.
A few other major restaurant chains have gone into the branded beer business. Last fall, IHOP brewed a very limited release beer with Keegan Ales, brewed with their famed pancake batter. I
In December, Taco Bell announced that Big City Bell, a pilsner brewed with Anheuser-Busch’s Blue Point Brewing, would be available at their New York City’s new Cantina locations.
Most recently, Hershey’s Chocolate partnered with America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling, to create Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter hitting select taps in October.
More to follow…