Our 2022 Brewmaster’s Collective beer club marches on this month with the Farmstead Collection, which features three new Vintage barrel-aged beers made in collaboration with WhistlePig Farm distillery, as well as two new head-spinning beers from our Barrelworks wild ale cellar.
Today, we’re drilling down on the two Barrelworks beers–California pFriemin’ and Mo’Bretta Rosé. While Mo’Bretta Rosé is a club exclusive, California pFriemin’ is available to the public via our online store and brewery locations for a limited time.
California pFriemin’ is an out-of-this-world saison made in collaboration with Oregon’s pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River. This beer was brewed at our Venice Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice, California, and finished at our Barrelworks wild ale cellar in Buellton.
Needless to say, California pFriemin’ represents an epic undertaking built on friendship, respect, and a mutual passion for great saisons.
The story begins in the Pacific Northwest, where Josh Pfriem has quietly been taking the beer world by storm with his brewing mastery.
Propagator Brewing Manager Sam Tierney said: “Matt [Brynildson] and I first visited pFriem about six years ago, and I was blown away. Josh is super intelligent and meticulous, and his brewery is really well thought-out. His mindset is similar to ours, with a focus on traditional styles and an obsession with quality. We’ve just had a natural connection with him over the years.”
An initial plan for a pFriem collaboration beer in 2020 was scuttled due to the pandemic, but finally, the time came to make it happen this year. In February, Josh came down to the Propagator, where he, Sam, and Matt tasted through several notable saisons that Matt had just brought back from a trip to Belgium. They talked about what they liked about the different beers, brought their ideas to the table, and formulated their brewing plan.
The keystone of any quality saison is the microflora used in fermentation. In keeping with tradition, they chose the classic Dupont yeast strain for its distinctive farmhouse aromas and characteristics. They also used a mix of specialty malts to achieve a luscious, golden straw body and pillowy mouthfeel. Finally, they dry-hopped the beer with New Zealand Nelson and German Blanc hops to add the subtle touch of tropical fruit aromas in balance with earthy saison notes.
After dry hopping, the beer was racked to mobile tanks and sent up the road to Jim Crooks, Master Blender at Barrelworks, where he added a Belgian strain of Brettanomyces for secondary fermentation, conditioning, and bottling.
“I’ve known Josh for a long time, and it’s cool to see him flourishing,” said Jim. “Brewing Belgian styles is one of pFriem’s signatures, so creating a mix-fermentation saison with them seemed fitting.”
The result is a deliciously complex Belgian-style saison with a West Coast twist. Sam said, “This is the kind of beer that will evolve nicely in the bottle for months and even years.”
Mo’Bretta Rosé is an ultra-fruited special edition of our signature Bretta Rosé, a Belgian Framboise-style wild ale from Barrelworks.
Bretta Rosé is one of the signature beers of Barrelworks, widely renowned in wild ale circles and boasting a 97-point rating on BeerAdvocate. “Bretta Rosé is just so aromatically bright and pungent, and it’s a perfect canvas for pure raspberry fruit expression,” Jim said.
Enter Mo’Bretta Rosé. This time, we took the original Bretta Rosé recipe, then doubled down on the fruit addition with 15,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown raspberries from farms in Santa Maria and Oxnard.
The fruit was added to a two- and three-year-old barrel-aged base beer, then co-fermented and matured for another four months before bottling. The result is an instant classic bursting with berry goodness.
If you want to try more beers like Mo’Bretta Rosé, sign up for notifications about joining the 2023 season of our Brewmaster’s Collective beer club here.