an oak-aged ale with Syrah grapes
While we have created wine hybrid beers in the past, employing methods like carbonic maceration and co-fermenting with grape must, these are the product of a different technique: refermenting on whole cluster grape varieties. This process produces a finished beer more closely aligned to our longer oak-aged ales like Tove or Eleanor.
Our goal was to put this beautiful fruit from French Creek Vineyard in the Yakima Valley on full display. The vineyard, with its southwest-facing slopes soaking up loads of direct sunlight, makes it an ideal location for growing Rhône varietals. This appellation near Red Mountain is one of Washington State’s smallest and warmest growing regions and produces some truly special wine grapes.
We started with a base beer matured in our Missouri oak foeder for 11 months, which provides a hardy and deep foundation for the fruit. Then we added the whole cluster Syrah, which contributes a more rustic fermentation profile and affects the aroma, texture, and tannin structure of the finished product.
After naturally conditioning for 9 months, Syrah puts forth blueberry, cocoa and hints of tobacco, supplemented by a lovely herbal spiciness from the whole cluster refermentation.