Investigating the uncommon, unusual, and rare within the craft beer community.


Surly Eight Coming Nov. 9

Surly EightThe time is flying by at Surly Brewing Company. With 8 years in the books, their next anniversary ale, Eight (oat wine ale aged in rye whiskey barrels), is ready to debut beginning Sunday, November 9. The festivities kick off with an official release party from 5-10pm at Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, with distribution to local liquor stores beginning the same week. Check out event details and reservation info here.

Happy hunting!

Commercial description:

“When it’s done” is a phrase we’ve used to describe release dates for our beers for many years. When you’re putting the beer first, it just makes sense. Our anniversary is technically in February, but this unique Oat Wine style ale needed to age in High West Rye Whiskey barrels until, well… until it’s done. Here’s to Eight great years, and we’ll all be celebrating soon in our all new Destination Brewery.

The idea behind our anniversary line-up of beers was to give Todd, Surly’s Head Brewer, free rein to use whatever ingredients and methods he wanted to brew the beer. This year’s bottle artwork is a one-of-a-kind illustration collaboration between Todd and local artistJosh “Jawsh” Lemke.

This beer was designed for barrel aging, so it’s been a great opportunity to work with our friends at High West Distillery® in Park City. Utah. Brewed with Golden Promise and Aromatic malt Oats, and Milk sugar fermented in stainless steel then aged in High West Rye Whiskey barrels, this golden hued Oat-Wine style ale summons notes of spicy vanilla marshmallow and aromas of honey and whiskey.

Jolly Pumpkin x Upland Persimmon Ship Coming Soon

Jolly-Pumpkin-Persimmon-ShipMiss out on Permission Slip during the last Upland Lambic lottery? Jolly Pumpkin’s installment, Persimmon Ship, looks to be on the way soon after hitting the bottling line this week at the brewery in Michigan. While Upland’s version was primarily only available to lotto winners, a limited supply of this iteration “will go out to a number of [Jolly Pumpkin's] distributors.” Stay tuned!

Commercial description:

Combining Indiana persimmons and dragonfruit from Thailand? Who would concoct such a divinely subtle concoction of joy and delight? Only the spookily twisted folks at Jolly Pumpkin and Upland Brewing, that’s who. From the rolling hills of Indiana, to the twisted wrought iron gates and graveyards of Dexter, comes this wonderful blending of oak aged sour ale. Our first collaborative release of 2014! 5% ABV

Bolero Snort Blackbeard’s Blackhorn Release Nov. 1

Bolero-Snort-Blackbeards-BlackhornHot on the heels of Bolero Snort Brewery’s first ever barrel-aged release is Blackbeard’s Blackhorn, slated to drop exclusively at 3 Gary’s Wine & Marketplace locations in New Jersey on Saturday, November 1. This is a single-barrel bottling of an American Black Lager aged in a Mount Gay Rum barrel for 1 year with coconut and vanilla beans, weighing in at 6.7% ABV.

The details:

  • Bottles can be reserved at any of the 3 release locations now
  • $14.99 per 750mL bottle
  • Limit will be determined based on reservations and event turnout
  • 212 bottles produced (190 available to the public)
  • President/Co-Founder Bob Olsen will be on hand at each event to talk beers

Release locations/times:

  • Gary’s Wine & Marketplace Wayne – 12pm to 1pm
  • Gary’s Wine & Marketplace Madison – 2pm to 3pm
  • Gary’s Wine & Marketplace Bernardsville – 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Bolero Snort Brewery is located at 65 Railroad Ave in Ridgefield Park, NJ. Check out Gary’s Wine & Marketplace here.

AleSmith Barrel-Aged Vietnamese Speedway Stout Online Sale Nov. 10

AleSmith-Barrel-Aged-Vietnamese-SpeedwayThe beer gods have answered our prayers. AleSmith Barrel-Aged Vietnamese Speedway Stout is officially reality, beginning Monday, November 10 at 11am PDT. This is another online sale via Brown Paper Tickets, allowing everyone to purchase bottles ahead of time and pickup from the AleSmith tasting room at their leisure.

The details:

  • $32 per 750mL bottle
  • Limit 4 bottles per person
  • The name on the sale must match the ID of the person picking it up (in other words, if YOU buy it, YOU have to pick it up)
  • Bottles must be picked up at the brewery from Saturday, November 15 – Sunday, January 18

Commercial description:

We traditionally brew Vietnamese coffee, known as cà phê sa đá, with a phin-style filter that gently percolates water through ground coffee. The result is a chocolaty and bold tasting coffee that perfectly complements the notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon in this massive barrel-aged stout.

AleSmith Brewing Company is located at 9366 Cabot Drive in San Diego, CA.

Allagash Farm to Face Botles Debut Nov. 3

allagash-farm-to-faceMillions of peaches…peaches for me. Allagash has yet another funky, wild and fruited ale set for release, as Farm to Face is ready to drop on Monday, November 3 at 10am. This one will also hit distribution in limited quantities, so no need to fret if you aren’t a Portland local.

The details:

  • $15 per 375mL bottle
  • Limit 2 bottles per person

Commercial description:

Farm to Face was brewed as a pale ale and fermented in stainless with our house yeast. After primary fermentation, pediococcus and lactobacillus were added along with 3lbs of peaches per gallon. Ten months later, the finshed beer is bright amber in color with peach, graham cracker and green apple in the aroma. Drinking this medium bodied beer is like biting into a juicy peach with tartness throughout. The finish has a long lasting peachyness. 5.7% ABV

Allagash Brewing Company is located at 50 Industrial Way in Portland, ME.

Firestone Walker SLOambic & El Gourdo Liberation Nov. 15

Firestone-Walker-liberation-flyerSurprise! The final Barrelworks Liberation event of 2014 is now a double release, featuring SLOambic and El Gourdo. Tickets drop Wednesday, October 29 at 9am via Eventbrite, with two options available (unlimited tasters, snacks, complimentary tasting glass and 3 or 6 bottles of SLOambic included).

The details:

  • Ticket prices – $75 (includes 3 bottles of SLOambic), $100 (includes 6 bottles of SLOambic)
  • Limit 2 tickets per person
  • SLOambic – $13.99 (+ tax and CRV) per 375mL bottle, limit 12 per person, 500 cases produced
  • El Gourdo – $14.99 (+ tax and CRV) per 375mL bottle, limit 3 per person, 100 cases produced

Commercial descriptions:

In 2009, Masterblender Jim Crooks, found a peculiar sounding fruit called the Ollalieberry, grown in San Luis Obispo County (SLO), California, home to our brewery. Pronounced oh-la-leh berry, this large blackberry-resembling fruit was first bred in Oregon, but flourishes in California. The discovery led to Jim’s creation of a delicious beer we call SLOambic. For this vintage, 1500 lbs. of berries were added to Sour Opal, a beer matured 18 months in French oak barrels, then fermented using our proprietary blend of microflora for an additional 4 months. Bursting with ripe berries, brambles, as well as jam, the fruit eventually gives way to a tease of funky yeast, spicy oak, and a robust mouth-watering acidity. Dark, brooding, yet bright, we herald in our first bottling of SLOambic. A Santé! 5.7% ABV

El Gourdo is what happens when the local pumpkin patch calls the Barrelworks on the day after Halloween, asking if we want orphaned Cinderella Pumpkins. Not only did we take the leftover pumpkins last year, we roasted them with bay leaf and walnuts in a wood-burning oven fueled by brandy staves and local white oak. We then tossed 500 lbs. of the caramelized gourds into an oak-aged base beer blend for fermentation and further oak barrel aging, lasting almost a year. The resulting beer is subtle yet firm. Roasting releases naturally sweet spicy pumpkin, brown sugar, and nutty flavors and aromas, which mingle nicely with an earthy funk, toasted oak and assertive acidity. A Santé! 5.8% ABV

Firestone Walker Barrelworks is located at 620 McMurray Road in Buellton, CA.

Block 15 Bottle Release Brunch Nov. 22

block-15-framboise-black Block-15-figgy-pudding









Block 15 is revving up for another bottle release next month, featuring a trio of barrel-aged beers on Saturday, November 22. As usual, two options for landing bottles are available – either through brunch reservations (9-10am) via a newly implemented lottery system or lining up when the brewery opens their doors for regular business at 11am.

The brunch reservation request period is open now, running until Monday, November 3 at 5pm. One reservation request per person, max party size of two people. Winners will be notified via email by Thursday, November 6 at 6pm.

The details:

  • Figgy Pudding – $11 per 500mL bottle, limit 6 per person
  • Framboise Black – $9 per 375mL bottle, limit 2 per person
  • Giving Thanks – $11 per 500mL bottle, limit 4 per person
  • All release beers will be on tap

Commercial descriptions:

Figgy Pudding – Our holiday offering was brewed with English pale & specialty malts, white & black figs, and black strap molasses. It was then matured in freshly emptied brandy barrels and gently spiced with Ceylon cinnamon and hand ground nutmeg. This blend includes 9 of 12 barrels we had available. We made a couple slight tweaks this year by was adding the figs to our kettle at the end of boil instead of the conditioning tank. We also added just a touch more spice. The Ceylon cinnamon throws a wonderful citrus note to the finished beer! The final blend is fantastic with rich caramelized fig character; gentle spicing, citrus, with warming brandy. Each barrel was plated twice in our lab prior to bottling. 11.5% ABV

We brewed Framboise Black as we were not able to procure enough golden raspberries last year for Framboise White.  This beer is brewed in the same manner as Framboise White and is a blend of strong Belgian style witbiers matured in French Oak barrels with locally grown black cap raspberries. We open fermented the beer with our house blend of Belgian yeast, brettanomyces, and lactobacillus. Mysteriously purple black in color with rich jammy fruits, supporting body, and a balanced sour finish.  The bottle limits are low as we lost half our the barrels to flooding this past spring. 8.5% ABV

From our wild cellar comes this blend of Belgian style Dubbels from 2nd use rum barrels and strong ale from brandy and 2nd use bourbon barrels. All of these beers underwent an extended lactic fermentation in barrels for 11-28 months. Akin to an Oud Bruin, the final blend is balanced with gentle acidity and supporting malt character. Implementing the use of 2nd run barrels allowed us to control the oak and spirit character to a supporting role. Giving Thanks is a wonderfully complex beer with notes of nuts, tobacco, plum and oak with supporting acidity. 10% ABV

Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery is located at 300 SW Jefferson Ave in Corvallis, OR.


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