(Denver, CO) – (On Thursday, Wynkoop Brewing released) a new and highly anticipated (at least by us) beer, Brewjolais Nouveau.
This is a very special collaboration for us, because we brewed it with one of our heroes, Peter Bouckaert of the mighty New Belgium Brewing.
Our head brewer Andy Brown developed the concept for the draft-only beer, then he and Peter brainstormed the idea with Ben Parsons at Denver winery Infinite Monkey Theorem.
The beer is part of our continuing effort to uphold the trailblazing history of our original brewer, the late and great Russell Schehrer, for whom the Brewers Association’s annual Innovation Award is named. That’s pressure, you know.
Brewed last September, Brewjolais Nouveau is arguably the most outside-the-lines beer we’ve ever brewed here. It’s a unique beer-meets-wine mashup, a hybrid sour brown ale fermented with 1200 pounds of cabernet grapes, then aged in wine barrels for several months.
“I wanted to create,” Brown says, “a hybrid beer that blended a Belgian, Flanders-style brown ale with a wine from the Burgundy region of France.”
What style does that make the beer? We don’t know. A “Flanders/Denver-Style Purple” perhaps.
It’s 9.6% ABV and features lush flavors of grapes, malt, sour-brown tang and oak, all in a gloriously purple beer.
It was fermented with a wine yeast (sacchromyces byanus, to be exact) and a Belgian beer yeast strain, and then aged in wine barrels for about three months before being blended to completion.
How did this creation come about? At the Craft Brewers Conference a couple years ago in San Francisco, we pitched Bouckaert (a fellow we’ve admired for years) on the idea of helping us launch a series of brewer collaborations. (Gotta swing for the fence, right?)
He eagerly and graciously accepted the invite. We think his decision was fueled by his being knocked out by Andy’s blended, slightly sour golden ale from last year, Orville.
Andy then got Ben on board, and Ben sourced the freshly picked and crushed Colorado grapes. Andy, Peter, and our brewers Eric Erman and Josh Willett helped haul the grapes from a van parked behind our place and into a fermenter filled with the base beer.
Ten months later, the fruit — no, drink — of this collaboration is flowing at Wynkoop. We serve the beer in a wine glass.
We’re releasing just a handful of 5-gallon kegs of the Brewjolais Nouveau to very select draft accounts of ours in Denver.