New Belgium and The Rare Barrel – Err On The Side of Awesome Details
(Ft. Collins, CO) – New Belgium Brewing is teaming up with Berkeley, Calif.-based The Rare Barrel, an all sour beer company, for Beers with Vrienden, a collaborative endeavor with friends and brewers around the country. For this project, where mutual admiration becomes liquid inspiration, the two breweries are partnering to create a sour beer blend.
The Rare Barrel co-founders and owners, Jay Goodwin and Alex Wallash, will join longtime friend and New Belgium specialty brand manager and wood cellar blender, Lauren Salazar, at New Belgium to create the perfect blend. From August 26 – 30, 2015, the collaborators will take several days to taste through all of New Belgium’s 64 foeders and small barrels, creating blends along the way until the perfect one presents itself. The final result will then pour at The Rare Barrel in mid-September, just in time for San Francisco’s Tour de Fat stop on September 19.
“I am so fist-pumping pumped to have our super great friends, Jay and Alex, collaborating with us,” said Salazar. “The Rare Barrel only makes sour beer. For such an involved process, it takes ridiculous skill to blend the amazing, delicious sour beer that they do. I can’t wait for them to sample everything in the New Belgium wood cellar and get the creative juices flowing.”
For Goodwin and Wallash, the collaboration brings back the original inspiration for The Rare Barrel.
“Many years ago, Alex took a tour of New Belgium, which inspired him to get his first homebrew kit and start home-brewing with me,” said Goodwin. “A few years later, I was brewing professionally and learned how to start a sensory (sour) program from Lauren. One of our first sour beers was La Folie. We have mad respect for New Belgium, the beers they brew and the rad people who make them. When you enjoy a beer and love the people who make it, collaboration beers are born.”
The final blend will be named ‘Err on the Side of Awesome’ paying tribute to their beer-making motto.
“An old, wise man once said, ‘it would behoove you to err on the side of caution.’ We replied, ‘sorry we’re not sorry, but we make sour beer and prefer to err on the side of awesome,” said Goodwin.
An Ode to a Beloved Barrel
The one thing pre-determined for ‘Err on the Side of Awesome’ is that it will be aged in pH1 – one of New Belgium’s original seven oak barrels and Salazar’s personal favorite. In 2006, several of these original barrels disappeared as New Belgium made room in its cellar for brand new foeders; pH1 was one of them. Several months later, Salazar found the favored barrel in Russian River Brewing Co.’s barrel room, while attending a UC Davis brewing school. Russian River brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo explained that Peter Bouckaert, New Belgium’s brewmaster, had gifted him PH1 and assured Salazar that it was well-loved and put to excellent use.
Over the years at beer conferences, Cilurzo would tell the story of Salazar’s reaction to finding PH1 in his barrel room and her joy that it was fulfilling its calling to make beautiful sour beers. Goodwin and Wallash heard the story at one such event and loved the concept that a single barrel could mean so much and produce such magnificent beer. Thus, the concept for “The Rare Barrel” was born.
Earlier this year, New Belgium received a package and PH1 had returned to its original home, 12 years later.
“It took a little repairing, but we gave her a little inoculate and filled her back up with beer,” said Salazar. “This month, it’ll have been aging about six months and it’s tasting just as lovely as she ever has – beautiful sour cherry beer inside just waiting for Jay and Alex to use this barrel as the cornerstone of their blend. It only seems fitting!”
“We’re most excited to try the final blend and share it with our fans,” said Wallash. “But, to beat an old cliché into the ground, the journey to the destination can be just as rewarding as the destination itself. We have a feeling it’s going to be quite magical to taste through New Belgium’s sour program and blend something beautiful.”
‘Err on the Side of Awesome’ Sour will come in at 7 percent ABV.
To learn more about New Belgium Brewing, check out NewBelgium.com and for more info on The Rare Barrel, visit TheRareBarrel.com. Additional details on Berkeley, Calif. release parties will be announced as the dates get closer.
About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s Most Freedom-Centered Workplaces, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews ten year-round beers; Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Slow Ride Session IPA, Snapshot Wheat, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Lager, Blue Paddle Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel. Learn more at NewBelgium.com.
About The Rare Barrel
The Rare Barrel is an all-sour beer company, based in Berkeley, California. All of The Rare Barrel’s beers age in oak barrels, while a blend of unconventional yeast and bacteria shape the sour, tart, and acidic flavors. Yes, their sours may age for over a year on oak barrels, but sour beers are well worth the wait. All sour, all the time. Learn more at TheRareBarrel.com.