Our Brewmaster’s Collective beer club has launched its new Spirited Fruits Collection, which includes a pair of member exclusives as well as a few small-batch beers available to everyone for a limited time.
For this collection, we invited our barrelmeisters to unleash their creativity and forage for a variety of imaginative ingredients. The result is an epic quintet of beers, including three Vintage beers and two Barrelworks wild ales.
Today we take a closer look at the trio of spirits-inspired beers from our Vintage barrel-aged program.
First up is Gold Rider, a high concept hybrid beer inspired by the Sidecar cocktail.
The story of Gold Rider began when we brewed a base beer with an infusion of Central Coast white wine juice. After fermentation, we aged the beer in 500-liter French Cognac barrels for two years, with a separate portion matured in orange bitters barrels. Finally, we incorporated a touch of fresh-squeezed lemon juice to elevate the experience. The result is a distinctive barrel-aged beer whose ingredients and flavors faithfully mirror the experience of enjoying a classic Sidecar.
“This beer is inspired by my grandmother,” says Vintage Barrel Program Manager Eric Ponce. “She always had a bottle of cheap brandy and would only sip some on Sunday evenings, always straight. As I got older, I acquired a taste for Armagnac and Cognac and the cocktails made from them. I persuaded her to give them a taste. Today, my grandmother still takes her brandy neat, but now she also lets me make her a Sidecar when I visit.”
Next is Daisy’s Favorite, an imperial blonde ale aged in gin barrels.
The name Daisy’s Favorite is a nod to Daisy Fay Buchanan – the iconic character from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – and to the story’s defiant embrace of illegal spirits during the Prohibition era.
The idea for this beer began when we secured some unique once-filled gin barrels made of new American oak. We then aged our Helldorado blonde barleywine in these barrels for 14 months to maximize the oak influence. The result is a rarity: a gin barrel-aged beer with all of the floral botanical goodness you might expect, masterfully married with wood-inspired flavors of vanilla, caramel and baking spice.
Desert Spoon is a member-only imperial blonde ale aged in rare Sotol barrels inherited from Desert Door Distillery in Texas.
Sotol is a legendary Mexican liquor that is known as the state spirit of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila. Known as Desert Spoon, the Sotol plant is similar to its cousin, the agave. Like the agave plants used to make Mezcal and Tequila, Sotol is harvested wild in the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. The outer leaves of the plant are removed to reveal the center core, which is then cooked, shredded, fermented and distilled to create inviting flavors of fruity sweetness and herbaceous smokiness.
These distinct flavors are also found in Desert Spoon after we aged our signature Helldorado blonde barleywine in the Sotol barrels for a full year. Aromas of cedar, vanilla, wet stone and eucalyptus give way to flavors of dried cherry, mint, sage and green grass along with a vibrant, lively texture.
The result is a uniquely exotic drinking experience crafted exclusively for our members. In Eric’s words, “This is one of the most complex beers we’ve ever made—we were really successful at extracting as much flavor and uniqueness from these Sotol barrels.”
Desert Spoon is a Brewmaster’s Collective exclusive beer. If you don’t want to miss out on beers like this in the future, join the waitlist for the 2023 season here.