A new Dragon’s Milk is joining the New Holland Brewing family this month – Dragon’s Milk Solera. Unlike the year-round barrel-aged imperial stout, this release is a completely different beer, from grain to glass.
“Dragon’s Milk (the 11%’er) has really given us the ability to experiment and grow the Dragon’s Milk family,” says New Holland’s brand manager Dominic Berquist. “This is really one of the most unique brewing approaches to the series yet,” he adds.
Dragon’s Milk Solera’s base beer is best described as an American strong ale before it’s racked to American oak foeders. New Holland is going to fractionally blend each batch, known as the “solera” method. The oak foeders will house different generations of the base beer, each contributing to what you will taste in the bottle, starting with the master batch, down the line to the youngest batch. The maximum age of a thread of Solera will increase with each blend until reaching an age equilibrium. At release, that’s 7.5 months. At equilibrium, the age will increase to just over 11 months.
Each blend in the process will be numbered, so fans can follow along with blending journey.
…Dragon’s Milk Solera presents a gorgeous mahogany hue. An oaky and subtly sweet nose draws the drinker in for a sip where beguiling flavors of caramel, toffee and fig coalesce into a beer best savored amongst good company.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Solera year-round starting in mid-July, with draft available in select states in August.
If this is Burial Beer Co.’s idea of what the rivers in hell taste like, count us in.
The Asheville, North Carolina based brewery’s Solera program has yielded another release, and it indeed runs deep red. Burial The River to Hell Runs Red is Oud Bruin ale (Flanders Brown Ale) that spent 6 months in Brunello foeders, only to be re-fermented in Sanctuary Vineyards Tempranillo barrels for 9 months. Hold on, not done. 75% of this sour ale was aged on raspberries, while the remaining 25% on blueberries.
The release is truly a dark, brooding, sour ale. As it warms the depth of this beer is revealed – a wash of bold Spanish black grapes and a subtle hint of dry Italian wine barrel, finishing with just the tiniest hint of vinegar and raspberry. Fans of sours like The Bruery Tart of Darkness or Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza will find a new love in hell here.
Burial The River to Hell Runs Red is a brewery only release, in 16.9-ounce bottles.
PIC: Beer Street Journal
It was a sweaty, stormy day in Atlanta years ago, even before the build of SweetWater’s wild ale expansion “The Woodlands” was complete, that SweetWater Cambium was born. Brewers Nick Burgoyne and Chris Meadows were transferring wort from the brewery’s number one selling 420 Extra Pale Ale into a stainless steel tank. On any other day, this beer would have been donning the “420” hoppy badge of honor and headed out the door in a matter of weeks. This liquid, however, had a much grander destiny that would take years to complete.
The ever-so-stunning The Woodlands was a drawing on a piece of paper when the brewers and lab biologists at SweetWater started isolating Brettanomyces strains and souring bacteria for the brewery’s wild ale program. On this day, as the thunder boomed over the city, the years of microscopic work were about to pay off. Isolated Brettanomyces strains, along with a Belgian saison yeast and Lactobacillus bacteria were set free in the tank. Nature will handle it from here.
About 8 months later, an American wheat ale base (similar to the now-retired Sch’Wheat Wheat Ale) topped off tank then allowed ferment out before finally being transferred to the brewery’s oak foeders for a full year. Cambium was finally bottled in December and has been conditioning on their House Brett ever since.
A bit like a Robert Frost poem, two roads diverged for that pale ale wort and only one went into the wood(s). This weekend you’ll see it really made all the difference.
Nearly two years in the making, SweetWater Cambium will debut in 500-milliliter bottles on January 27th.
A want for any American wild ale lover. Funk Factory Geuzeria Meerts debuts on July 7th.
The Madison, Wisconsin based brewery describes Meerts as a “modern interpretation of the low alcohol by volume style derived from the second running of Lambic”. (Dipping a few toes in the “table beer” category.) Funk Factory uses Cantillon and Boon’s known techniques as a reference for this beer.
Why modern interpretation? In 2016, the brewery attempted to make Meerts using the second runnings for a Lambic wort on a 50 barrel brewhouse. The theory was the second runnings would yield 20-30 barrels. In reality, it only yielded 4 barrels (120 or so gallons).
A dedicated brew day for Meerts was required to produce enough wort to make the beer. Basically, brewed to style as much as possible.
Funk Factory uses a pilsner malt, raw wheat, and Saaz hops in a turbid mash, scaled down to target a 4% finishing alcohol by volume. The beer is boiled long, lightly hoppeed, and hit the foeder for fermentation back in February.
At 4% abv, it is refreshing and clean, lightly tart lemon citrus with some rustic earthiness. I’m very excited to have a beer that I can put out at a lower price point and with more frequency.
Funk Factory Geuzeria Meerts will debut on July 7th in 750 milliliter bottles. This is a ticketed release, with a June 20th on sale date.