Bottle Release

Deadlock with Black Currants - Spring 2016

Deadlock is a Dark Sour Ale with a rich malt character, medium acidity, and prominent fruit notes.  Deadlock is a complimentary contrast to Les Saisons.   Where Les Saisons is a dry-hopped Saison with Brett where the hops change with the season, Deadlock is a dark sour ale aged with a different fruit each season. 

The grain bill used for this beer is specifically designed to be soured.  We selected dark malts that provide the color and some background chocolate notes instead of roasted malts that can become aggressively astringent when the pH of the beer drops (i.e. the beer becomes sour).

Deadlock is barrel fermented with a combination of Brettanomyces (Wyeast Brett Lambicus) that provides a distinct cherry pie flavor and an impression of ripe fruit leather and our house souring culture to help create some acidity, as well as incorporate our house flavor. After the culture had a chance to ferment and sour, we added black currants to this batch and allowed the beer to continue maturing in the barrels.

Tasting notes from the bottle: The black currants, which already have a good amount of natural tartness, complimented the base beer nicely by providing a bold red wine characteristic that really added some nice complexity and additional tartness.  As this beer warms up a bit, additional malt and chocolate notes come out.  As this beer ages, the acidity will increase and the black currants will become less bright and more like dried fruit or black currant jam. 

Online Sale: Monday, April 25th, 2016 at 12noon via

Price: $18 per 750 ml bottle

Release Party in Tasting Room: Friday, April 29th, 2016 11am-10pm (7705 Convoy Ct. San Diego, CA)

-Jeff "Wild Man" Crane

Les Saisons - Spring 2016 Release

This series of Rustic Saisons started with the name "Les Saisons." This is usually the opposite for us, since naming our beers is a struggle and is usually done after the beer is made, but that's another post.  The name is really just an easy play on words since "Saison" means "Season" in French.  Our spin is that we will be using strains of Brettanomyces and different hop varieties to incorporate the essence of the season.

Photo Credit:  Matthew Dela Cruz-@Brewstills

Photo Credit: Matthew Dela Cruz-@Brewstills

Since we enjoyed the profile we got from the barrels Nicene fermented and aged in, we knew right away that we could guide Les Saison in a similar direction.  We didn't want this beer quite as tart as Nicene (still a splash to add a crisp note) and wanted it more in line with the profile of rustic European Saisons being brewed today.  We used a simple grist of Pilsner, Munich, Aromatic, and Flaked Rye. The flaked rye  adds some extra protein for a decent body in the finished product.

Flowers, soil after a good rain storm, grass, chaparral, and herbs all come to mind when we think of springtime.  We saw this theme of earthy flavors that still have a bright floral component translate to beer quite nicely.  We are lucky enough to have a large selection of Brett strains in our house library that could be used to match the spring time flavors. We picked White Lab's Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (Brett Brux), a strain well known for providing earthy or farmhouse notes that remind us of damp earth after a rain storm. 

Next, we wanted to build on that profile with a big dry hop addition immediately before being packaged. The idea with this addition, is that we want some flavor evolution in the bottle. Meaning when this beer is first released, the hop addition will be a major component in the profile, but with time it will fade and allow the Brettanomyces flavors to dominant. And somewhere in the middle it should be difficult to tell if the flavors you are tasting are hop or yeast derived. As for the hops, we chose a blend that combines very traditional, noble hop flavors with brighter, New World flavors. We chose a combination of East Kent Goldings, known for its floral, almost rose-like notes and Hallertau Blanc to add that fruit component.

This batch was aged in neutral French oak barrels (second use after Nicene) to pick up some mouthfeel building tannins and some acidity from the leftover house bugs). Future renditions  of Les Saison will be aged in our new 30 BBL American oak foeders, so we can have more to enjoy each season. 

The bottles have been conditioned with a nice high level of effervescence and will be available in the tasting room and select retailers this Friday, April 1st (no joke).


Jeff "Wild Man" Crane

Vienne-Biere de Mars

Vienne-Biere de Mars

Vienne-Biere de Mars

Let me introduce to you Jeff.  He is our Barrel Program Director, aka Wild Man.  As such, he is constantly trying to push the limits with our barrel-aged beers.  When we got a shipment of barrels last fall, he said he wanted to make a Biere de Mars.  We brewed this beer, which we named Vienne, back in October and fermented it in our plastic fermenters (so we could control the fermentation temps in the beginning) and then 6 days into fermentation, it was racked into barrels.  This beer was aged with peaches and persimmons along with our house Lacto/Brett blend.  Through the careful addition of fruit and blending, this beer is like Nicene’s tart, malty cousin with background notes of stone fruit.  Vienne will be available for pre-sale online via Brown Paper Tickets on March 19, 2015 and will be released in the tasting room on March 26, 2015 with a keg of it on draft. Hope you enjoy it.

-Liz "The Brewer"

Pellicle on top of the persimmons formed by the Lactobacillus 

Pellicle on top of the persimmons formed by the Lactobacillus 

Thanks for the introduction Liz. I wanted to add a little historical context to the beer as knowing the inspiration enhances the drinking experience.

I've been somewhat obsessed with the Biere de Garde (and lesser known/used Biere de Mars) style since reading about it in Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski.  The style just like Saison has morphed over the generations. Most of the current styles available from France are more closely related to German Bock beers in the sense that the malt character is the main focus with minimal, complimentary esters from the yeast. Most are even brewed as lagers with a few being brewed with ale strains at lower than normal temperatures. Well, these beers did not start out tasting this way, mostly because they didn't have good sanitation or pure yeast cultures. These would have been brewed in a similar way to Saison or even modern day lambics. They were brewed in the cool Fall months and then cellared until needed the following spring. According to the book, the name "Biere de Mars" was used to highlight a special release and help differentiate from their standard Biere de garde. 

Having this history in mind we wanted to create a flavor profile that would be similar to the early versions of Biere de Garde. The malt character is similar to the currently available examples with strong caramel and toast notes. We wanted to incorporate some tartness and wild yeast (Brettanomyces) flavors that would have been dominant in the original versions.  Finally, we added our own twist by incorporating fruit to reinforce some primary yeast flavors. With this style the art is really in balancing these components so you can taste all the nuances.

Blending Session for Vienne - Council Brewing Biere de Mars

Blending Session for Vienne - Council Brewing Biere de Mars

Lastly, a comment that relates to all of our bottles releases. We create a blend (this beer has 3 components) that we enjoy at the time of bottling and will evolve with time into something different, but equally enjoyable. The choice on when to drink the beer is based on what flavors you prefer. As this particular beer ages, we expect the caramel malt and fruit notes to fade and the acidity and wild yeast notes to increase. See you on the 26th.

-Jeff "Wild Man"