Southern Brew News April/May 2011 : Page 1
COLLABORATE STATES of Southern Brewers More Than a Feeling COLLABEERATION. Terrapin and Left Hand collaborative brew: (l to r) Terrapin’s Spike Buckowski and Left Hand’s Ro Guenzel. PHOTO BY OWEN OGLETREE ILLUSTRATIONS BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Elizabeth Wheat W ith craft brewers really pushing the envelope these days, beer drinkers are privileged to taste the results when brewers join forces to see just what else they can do and do well. Sharing ideas and pro ﬁ ts is just not something you see in many industries, and it’s a testament to the craft beer industry and its consumers that collaboration is taking off. What exactly goes on when brewers get together to create a collaborative brew? Three very differ-ent Southern brewers, Wayne Wambles at Cigar City Brewing, Spike Buckowski at Terrapin Beer, and Paul Philippon at Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, give some insight into the craft brewing collab-orative process. How Does it Get Started? It seems there’s usually beer involved! The idea to create a joint brew often initiates after hours, over beer, at beer confer-See States p.3 By Rick Fifer INTU BEER. Clockwise from top: happy patrons at Intuition Ale Works grand opening, owner/brewer-Ben Davis, a line-up of malt and hops, working on a pint, business manager Cari Sanchez-Potter-incognito. PHOTOS: INTUITION ALES WORKS State by State News Tasting Notes ................... 6 Pints for Prostates ........... 7 Homebrew News .............. 8 Style Section .................... 9 Beer Wench's Kitchen ...... 10 Dr. Brewski ...................... 10 Tennessee ........11 Georgia ..........16 Alabama/Mississippi ....18 The Carolinas .......20 Florida ...........22 Louisiana ............23 T Sometimes you just seem to know when something is meant to be. That’s how Jack-sonville feels about its newest microbrew-ery. Some will say it’s more than a feeling. It’s more than a hunch or a suspicion. It’s more like a sixth sense. They may even call it intuition. Owner and brewer, Ben Davis, calls it Intu-ition Ale Works. And his customers call it brilliant. On November 20, 2010, the River City of ﬁ cially welcomed its second micro-brewery in as many years. After looking for a suitable location for the better part of two years, Ben ﬁ nally found the ideal building in an old brick and block warehouse in the trendy Riverside district, mere blocks from Bold City Brewery. “I was sensitive to opening so close to Bold City. I didn’t want Brian or his cus-tomers to think I was trying to muscle in on their ‘turf’.” Ben said playfully yet serious-See Intuition p. 4
Collaborate States Of Southern Brewers
With craft brewers really pushing the envelope these days, beer drinkers are privileged to taste the results when brewers join forces to see just what else they can do and do well. Sharing ideas and profi ts is just not something you see in many industries, and it’s a testament to the craft beer industry and its consumers that collaboration is taking off. What exactly goes on when brewers get together to create a collaborative brew? Three very different Southern brewers, Wayne Wambles at Cigar City Brewing, Spike Buckowski at Terrapin Beer, and Paul Philippon at Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, give some insight into the craft brewing collaborative process.
How Does it Get Started?
It seems there’s usually beer involved! The idea to create a joint brew often initiates after hours, over beer, at beer conferences or gatherings. For Spike at Terrapin (Athens, GA), that’s how the Midnight Brewing Project with Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO) got started. For Paul at Duck-Rabbit (Farmville, NC) and collaborators Jamie Bartholomaus of Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem, NC) and Steven Lyerly of Olde Hickory Brewery (Hickory, NC), the conversation began similarly. With the three of them just sitting around talking, Paul says they easily concluded, “It would be a fine idea to put a face to the public that accurately reflects craft brewing.” That fine idea brought us Olde Rabbit’s Foot. At other times, someone else involved suggests that two brewers ought to get together. A De Proef (Lochristi, Belgium) distributor suggested they should do a collaboration with a Southern brewery. Terrapin agreed; Monstre Rouge was born. Wayne Wambles at Cigar City Brewing worked with Ryan Witter from Grassroots Brewing (Nordby, Denmark) in the past; they stayed in touch and decided to collaborate. They also invited Shaun Hill from Grassroots’ sister brewery, Hill Farmstead (Greensboro Bend, VT). That triple threat brought us two Double Black India Ales called Either and Or.
To Blend or Brew?
When collaborating, breweries fi rst have to agree on the concept. Do they want to blend a beer they each make or come up with a new recipe together? For Olde Rabbit’s Foot, it was simple. Each of them already made a Russian Imperial Stout, and all had played around with barrel-aging, so a barrel-aged blend of all three made perfect sense. For collaborations involving a new beer, coming up with a recipe is more complicated. Thanks to technology, this back-and-forth process can take place by email. Wayne at Cigar City, who has done multiple collaborations, says this process can be brief, or it can get lengthy if someone strongly disagrees on the concept. But, they plug on and eventually reach a consensus.
Now to the Nitty Gritty…
Whether the collaboration involves a blend or a new beer, the final product must come out of one brewery due to federal regulations. This sometimes means that the host brewery keeps the profits from sales of the collaboration. But, with rights come responsibilities, and the responsibilities here are great. The host brewery is in charge of all the paperwork from the label approval to the Consent of Process which is necessary when non-traditional ingredients or processes are involved as with the honey and cedaraging of Either and Or. The host brewery also handles the purchase of ingredients and general operations. With annual collaborations like Olde Rabbit’s Foot and the Midnight Brewing Project, the brewing has moved back and forth or among the brewers, so no one is overburdened. Either and Or were brewed at Cigar City, but upcoming Neither and Nor will be brewed at Grassroots and Hill Farmstead.
Brew and Let Learn
When all the red tape has been cleared, the guest brewer heads to the host brewery to do the deed. No matter how experienced the brewers, the collaborative process lends itself to learning, sometimes specific, other times more elusive.
As Wayne puts it, “The things learned in a collaboration aren’t always things being collaborated on.” Being together for hours on end gives opportunities to question and share combined brewing knowledge. Still, new processes and ingredients often pop up. Wayne “learned “It would be a fine idea to put a face to the public that accurately reflects craft brewing.” that hop extract was more forward and more stable than just using pellets alone, and also that Pilsner malt allowed the specialty grains to stand out more than the two-row version.”
For Spike, it was a chance to experiment with ingredients and to work on state-of-the-art equipment. For the Midnight Brewing Project’s first beer, Terra Rye’zd, he and Ro Gunzel from Left Hand ended up working from 6:00am to midnight because the monster amount of hops they used resulted in a gummy mixture they had to work out. In Belgium, De Proef’s state-ofthe- art brewery gave Spike an opportunity to work with Brettanomyces for Monstre Rouge, something he’d never done because of fear of cross-contamination.
But, in addition to their “touch a button and it brews” system, De Proef has a separate room for using Brett. In exchange, Spike was able to share his approach built on a much more manual system. So, brewers always learn, as Spike says, “how you work with what you have.”
What Drives This Spirit of Collaboration?
All three brewers agree that a simple love for good beer drives this seemingly unique propensity for collaboration and sharing. Spike at Terrapin feels it benefits the industry as a whole, stating, “A rising tide raises all ships.” Paul at Duck-Rabbit comments, “No one gets into craft brewing for any reason other than they have a passion for beer, so, out of the general population, we’ve already selected people who have a certain mindset: they love delicious things. Every single one of us started as a beer lover.” Wayne at Cigar City sees a parallel with another industry. “I prefer to look at the craft brewing industry in a similar way as I do the Indie music industry. We are the underdog when you take a look at the entire market, and when we stick together, we can make a larger impact. In addition to that, learning and sharing is invaluable to us as individuals and a collective industry.”
Dream Collaborations and the Future
As long as there’s something to learn, and as long as beer drinkers continue to appreciate collaborations, it’s safe to say they will be a part of the craft beer scene for years to come. All three brewers are now involved in either new or recurring collaborations. Paul feels like there would be more, but brewers often can’t find the time. Spike has just made a trip to Switzerland to work on one and is still dreaming of a collaboration with “the guy that got me brewing,” John Meyer from Rogue; they’ve discussed it, but need to get it by “the brass.” Wayne’s Either/Or project is to be continued with Neither/Nor, and he’s also got collaborations underway with Tarpon Springs’ St. Somewhere and The Bruery out of California. Grab these fruits of their hard labor while you can, and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Wayne, the father of a newborn son, puts some apt words to the experience saying, “All of the effort is similar to gestation in that the result will be treated with adoration in the same way that a father looks at his child for the first time. The experience is irreplaceable.” Ahhhhhh. Feel the love.
Intuition Ale Works
More Than a Feeling
Sometimes you just seem to know when something is meant to be. That’s how Jacksonville feels about its newest microbrewery. Some will say it’s more than a feeling. It’s more than a hunch or a suspicion. It’s more like a sixth sense. They may even call it intuition.
Owner and brewer, Ben Davis, calls it Intuition Ale Works. And his customers call it brilliant. On November 20, 2010, the River City offi cially welcomed its second microbrewery in as many years. After looking for a suitable location for the better part of two years, Ben fi nally found the ideal building in an old brick and block warehouse in the trendy Riverside district, mere blocks from Bold City Brewery.
“I was sensitive to opening so close to Bold City. I didn’t want Brian or his customers to think I was trying to muscle in on their ‘turf’.” Ben said playfully yet seriously. “We brew different styles of beer so we should be able to thrive together and provide Jacksonville with a greater assortment of locally brewed beers to choose from.”
In fact, Ben has already purchased a bottling unit from Bold City, an early indication that these two can play nice.
The Vineyard of Intuition
Despite an early appreciation for beer and food discovered during his time at the University of South Carolina, Ben didn’t start brewing to satisfy a longtime yearning to make beer. His journey to brewing started in a small wine and cheese store, The Grotto, in the popular San Marco area of Jacksonville.
After working as an employee and becoming more familiar with wine, Ben eventually purchased the business and turned it into a highly successful wine and tapas bar. Inspired by his new passion, he sold The Grotto and moved to Napa Valley to further his wine knowledge. The Laird Family Estate welcomed him into the wine industry and provided an opportunity to learn the business of vinification.
Not satisfied with making somebody else’s wine, the young entrepreneur soon bought 10 tons of grapes to start his own label, Tallulah wines. During his time in Northern California, Ben met the woman whom he would marry.
“Operating and promoting a boutique wine label is not exactly the life for a family man.” Ben recalled. “I was constantly on the road promoting and selling. I decided it was time for a change so we sold the label and moved back to Jacksonville. At that time, brewing beer professionally wasn’t even in my thoughts.”
Back to Jax
After settling back into his Southern home, several of Ben’s friends suggested he start a brewery. “I started homebrewing again and was immediately hooked on the idea of owning a brewery. I love the fact that it’s extremely process driven but at the same time you have so much control over the end product. Despite that control, it’s more challenging than making wine because now I have to put out a consistent product. Wine aficionados expect and appreciate subtle variations from one vintage to another due to fluctuations in each year’s grape harvest, but beer drinkers expect their favorite brew to taste the same every time.”
Ben spent a couple years perfecting several recipes and educating himself at the Siebel Institute while working to secure a location and equipment. The lease on 720 King Street was finally signed in May of 2010 and construction began in August.
A brand new 10 barrel brew house from San Diego was brought in along with four 10 barrel and two 20 barrel fermenters. Business is doing so well that Ben is already looking ahead to expansion. Luckily the building has plenty of room and Ben has already sourced five 30 barrel fermenters from a brewery in Kansas.
The West Coast influence is immediately obvious in Ben's beers. His time in Wine Country put him smack in the middle of the West Coast beer scene and introduced him to "the local hop-centric favorites."
We tend to have an aversion to flavor here in the states,” Ben lamented. “Mass produced coffee, food and beer are all watered down to please the general public. I want to challenge that. I want to brew beers that push the edge of the style but are still drinkable. I want people to say ‘Wow! I didn’t know a beer could have so much flavor.’”
Ale Works Brews
The Intuition Ale Works flagship beer, People’s Pale Ale, is an American Pale Ale bittered with Magnum and late hopped with Centennial and Cascade for that quintessential West Coast-style pale ale flavor and aroma. Riverside Red is an aggressively hopped, high gravity red ale in the American Strong Ale style. It also uses Magnum hops for bittering but adds Simcoe for flavoring, aroma, and dryhopping. It’s reminiscent of a renowned “arrogant” California beer or a “big hoppy” beer brewed in Georgia. No West Coaststyle lineup would be complete without an American IPA and Ben doesn’t disappoint.
He describes his I-10 IPA as “The West Coast comes to Jax with this extremely hoppy, true India Pale Ale. Our two-row malted barley and caramel malt come to life with a shit ton of Northwest hops.” Interstate 10, the beer’s namesake, is the 4th longest interstate highway, starting in Santa Monica, CA and ending in Jacksonville. The perfect name for a true West Coast-style IPA that’s found a home in North Florida! Somewhat experimental in nature, Shotgun Shack Black Rye Ale is a hoppy American ale brewed with 8% malted German Rye. Deep black in color, it hints of pine needles, roasty malt, and spicy green peppercorns. Their wheat-based offering, Wild Child Wheat, is influenced by Belgian Wits. Despite the name, it serves as training wheels for those newly initiated to craft beer and Intuition Ale Works. King Street Stout rounds out the initial assortment and has the highest alcohol content of the lot. Ben adds a touch of brown sugar to add a little Southern flare to this jet black example of the Russian Imperial style.
Tapping the Future
The Intuition Ale Works beers are available only on draft at better beer bars around Jacksonville and in the brewery tap room. The tap room has seating for about a dozen patrons at the bar with additional seating for another 25 or so at tables. There’s a TV over the bar to catch the game while enjoying a pint of one of the previously mentioned house brews. In addition, while they build their portfolio, four guest beers are also available. Cigar City, Abita, Stone and Swamp Head were represented at the time this was written. In addition to the tap room there is a space for special events and tastings inside the actual brewery with front row seating for all the action in the brew house. This area seats about 20 at the bar and has additional tables to seat many more. In case you can’t stay long enough to try all their beers, growlers are available to take the Intuition Ales home with you. Due to Florida packaging laws, quart and gallon growlers are sold but Ben was hopeful they would be able to fill the standard half-gallon growlers in the near future.
In the meantime, you can enjoy a beer in the tap room or have a party in the tasting room. And Ben and the crew are already combining their love of beer and food at local fine dining establishments. They recently hooked up with Chew Restaurant for their first beer dinner, pairing courses with five Intuition Ale Works beers. The menu was over 90% locally sourced.
Cari Sanchez-Potter helps Ben run the tap room and plan special events. “We are preparing ourselves for a host of springtime activities, said Sanchez-Potter. “The Florida Brewers Guild and Beer Fest in Tampa; an epic St. Patty’s Day party featuring three special Irish brews; a big cornhole tournament to benefit Dreams Come True; a collaboration with Jacksonville Fashion Week; a Food and Social Media panel; and partnerships with a number of nonprofit organizations like the Jacksonville Chapter of the National MS Society and the St. John’s Riverkeeper. And that’s just in March.”
As if that weren’t enough to keep them busy for awhile, Ben plans to add several more beer styles including a kolsch that he has homebrewed successfully many times. He is particularly fond of Belgian beers and hopes to add some Belgian-inspired recipes to the pack as well.
“I’m thinking about brewing the People’s Pale Ale with a Belgian yeast just to have in the tap room. It would help to introduce some of the Belgian characteristics to my customers in a friendly way.”
Ben Davis talks often of his customers and what they want in a beer. He also has a vision of the future of Intuition Ale Works and the Jacksonville beer scene in general.
“I want Jacksonville to become the Asheville of Florida. I won’t settle for people to say that our beer is ‘good for a Jacksonville beer’. I want it to be good period, regardless of where it came from.”
When asked about the origin of the brewery’s name, Ben thought for a moment, as if it were the first time he had ever heard the question. And the corners of his mouth slowly curled into the slightest of smiles.
“It’s how I approach brewing. I listen to my gut and just do what feels right. I make beers I believe in.”
Intuition Ale Works, 720 King St., Jacksonville, FL, 904-683-7720, www.intuitionaleworks. com
Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Intuition+Ale+Works/688817/65791/article.html.