Wild and Sour Ales have really grown in popularity in the last few years. For the uninitiated they can seem intimidating to approach at first but, once you get past that initial uncertainly and try a few different Wild and Sour styles, most people find something they really enjoy.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Barrelworks is no stranger to Wild and Sour Ales. They’ve put out several extremely popular selections like Agrestic (American Wild Red Ale), Krieky Bones (Wild Ale Fermented With Sour Cherries), SLOambic (Wild Ale Fermented With Blackberries) and more. Now Barrelworks is ready to release the latest in their Wild Ales Series: UnderCurrants (Wild Ale Fermented With Black Currants).
Here is the full press release from Firestone Walker Brewing Company:
Buellton, CA: From the fields of Poland to the coast of California comes UnderCurrants—an inaugural cross-continental wild beer from Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks.
“We have been toying around with the idea of a currant-infused beer for several years now,” said Barrelworks’ Master Blender Jim Crooks. “We finally decided to strike when we were able to score beautiful whole black currants from a farmer in Poland, which is renowned as one of the world’s finest currant-growing regions.”
The result is a wildly flavorful beer that is bursting with rich currant goodness.
This inaugural release of UnderCurrants will begin rolling out next week to all Firestone Walker markets in limited draft and 375-ml bottle formats. It is the second of five bottled Barrelworks wild ale releases slated for 2018.
The Making of UnderCurrants
After hand harvesting in Poland, the whole black currants were treated with IQF (individually quick frozen) technology to perfectly preserve their fresh aromas and flavors, then shipped to California and delivered to Barrelworks last summer.
“We knew that fresh fruit flavors were critical to the success of this beer, and this amazing IQF technology made it possible,” Crooks said.
Crooks and his team blended the currants with 150 barrels of Agrestic Ale (Barrelworks’ wild iteration of Firestone Walker’s signature DBA pale ale) that had been aging for 12 to 48 months. The currant-infused Agrestic blend was then inoculated with Barrelworks’ proprietary Brettanomyces yeast and aged for an additional four months in oak foeders.
Lastly, more Agrestic Ale was added back into the blend to achieve an optimal balance of currant flavor and texture. “The intensity of the currant flavors was out of this world,” Crooks said. “By cutting more Agrestic into the final blend, we were able to dial everything into perfect balance.”
An Homage to A Classic
UnderCurrants also pays homage to the iconic Consecration ale made by Russian River Brewing Company, with whom Firestone Walker has collaborated many times over the years. In fact, Barrelworks beers are bottled with a bottling line inherited from Russian River.
“Consecration sets the standard for currant-infused beers, and UnderCurrants now becomes our own contribution to the style,” said Jeffers Richardson, director of Barrelworks. “We think it will blow some minds.”
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Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located on the coast of California. Firestone Walker’s main brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. The Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers and limited local offerings. For more information: FirestoneBeer.com.
It’s nice that Barrelworks brewed UnderCurrants as an homage to Russian River Brewing’s Consecration Ale. I do miss Russian River beers sometimes, since they don’t distribute to Washington State anymore. However, Barrelworks’ Wild Ales are a more than sufficient substitute for me (though I do hope Russian River will resume Washington distribution at some point). UnderCurrants should start appearing on Seattle area craft store shelves soon.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.