The Firestone Walker Brewmaster’s Collective beer club is a platform for our most creative barrel-conditioned beers, with member collections released throughout the year.
Our latest collection is called “Spirited Fruits.” It features an epic quintet of beers, including three Vintage beers and two Barrelworks wild ales.
Today we take a look at the two Barrelworks beers: one member exclusive, and one that is available to all for a limited time.
Welcome to Primal Elements Batch #2, an out-of-this-world sour ale brewed with a host of tropical fruits. Bright, aromatic and juicy, this super-drinkable new release is now available for purchase online and at our three taproom locations.
After the release of the inaugural batch last year, Primal Elements Batch #2 brings an added twist, as nectarine has been added to a fruit roster that already included mango, pineapple and tangerine. It also returns in 16-ounce cans, the perfect vessel for fresh and convenient quaffing.
Barrelworks Master Blender Jim “Sour Jim” Crooks personally sourced the different fruits from Mexico, Costa Rica and California. He then went to work to create the four separate barrel-aged fruit beers and ultimately produced a seamless blend that brought elements of all four fruits to the forefront while balancing both sweetness and acidity. The final beer packs nearly four pounds of fruit per gallon.
“Nectarine already has so much juiciness, it was a natural addition to take this beer to the next level,” Sour Jim says. “Primal Elements is our vehicle for this really easy-drinking wild beer that isn’t overtly sour. It’s going to keep evolving each year.”
He adds, “This beer is a culmination of years working to make sour ales more appealing to people and open their minds to what Barrelworks has to offer.”
Apricot Krisp is a “culinary” wild ale made in collaboration with our friends at The Bruery.
In his typical understated and un-creative way, Sour Jim describes Apricot Krisp as “a symphonic poem of flavors with an orchestrated collection of ingredients…A malty ambiance lingers in the backdrop, summoning a granola-inspired crust that creates a dazzling dance with the fresh apricots.”
The idea behind this beer was to essentially make a “liquid fruit pie,” and we worked with The Bruery to divide and conquer. They made a beer with MacIntosh apples, while we made a double fruited apricot wild ale, first with fresh apricots, and then with organic apricot purée.
Then, in January, we all got together to make the “crust,” hand-mixing a large batch of granola from rolled oats, almonds, Madagascar vanilla beans, dried cranberries and Ceylon cinnamon sticks, onto which we drizzled honey. We toasted the granola, then steeped it into a portion of the apple beer for two weeks. The resulting granola concentrate was then blended back into equal portions of the two beers to create what we’re calling Apricot Krisp.
“It’s got it all going on, it’s a trip—it’s a culinary experience in the form of the beer,” Sour Jim says. “Your sip starts with bright apricots, and then as it proceeds you get this nice apple spice. Next you get these vanilla, cinnamon and granola flavors, and then the whole bite comes together on the finish.”
Apricot Krisp lands as one of our club member exclusives. If you like the sound of beers like this, then keep tabs on the club and consider joining for the 2023 season.