Our brewery is deeply rooted in wine country. In Paso Robles we are surrounded by rolling hills of vines. Our first beers were born on the Firestone Winery, and we have always taken inspiration from winemakers and their traditions.
— Jim Crooks, Barrelworks Masterblender
Barrelworks is all about rising to the challenge of transforming raw ingredients into something beautiful.
Barrelworks, our program dedicated to all things wild, has taken it one step further, blurring the line between beer and wine with some of its creations.
All beers have a wild and tart character and have lived in previously used wine barrels for 1-3 years. These oak barrels provide tart, vinous, & tannic character to our beers, along with harboring the yeast that gives the beer the character we desire. Much like wine, these beers are a blending project.
When it is time to create a beer, he samples many different barrels ranging from 12-48 months of age and comes up with a base blend built with those that sing to him. He transfers them into a giant Foeder, and adds thousands of pounds of fresh fruit for another fermentation. Four to six months later, the beer imparts a real depth of fruit character.
Only for these beer-wine hybrids, the process is a little different.
Our most recent beer-wine hybrid, Bretta Blanc, began at Kingsley Vineyard in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, which is the family vineyard of brewery proprietor David Walker. Here, Crooks and company picked Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc grapes over multiple harvests dating back to 2016.
These grapes were pressed and fermented with a light base beer using proprietary wild yeasts. The different lots were then matured for one to three years in French oak barrels prior to final blending. These beer-wine hybrids are the only time that fruit actually enters our oak barrels.
The co-fermentation of freshly pressed grape juice and beer together culminates in a uniquely nimble beer-wine hybrid that exudes racy tropical aromas with notes of honeysuckle and honeydew melon.
— Jim Crooks
Bretta Blanc is all about offering a soft Champagne-like mouthfeel for maximum warm weather drinkability.
With Brett Blanc, we took aromatic white grapes and aimed to create something as close to Champagne as we could. This is the ultimate crossover beverage—the wine grape aromas coming out of the glass are just amazing. It’s one of the easiest-drinking wild ales you’ll ever taste.
If you are looking for a crisp summer sipper, get Bretta Blanc here.