Words cannot express how excited we are to release our very first sour beer, a collaboration with Upland Brewing called Come What Mayhaw.
Before we tell you about this beer, we want to tell you how we got here. You’ve seen our recent posts about our Belgian Program, and the dedicated area we’ve built to create these new styles of beer. The creation of this program was expedited by our good friend Caleb Staton, Director of Sour Operations at Upland, who first paid us a visit in March 2015. Harvey and Caleb went to brewing school together at UC Davis. When Caleb told us he wanted to visit Great Raft Brewing and collaborate on a sour beer together, we were beyond thrilled. But working with Brettanomyces and bacteria such as lactobacillus and pediocaucus couldn’t be done in our current cellar. So we focused a lot of time, money and attention on creating a dedicated space to create this program.
In March 2015, Harvey and Caleb brewed a base golden sour. It fermented with a low-ester yeast in our original cellar, then we moved it to Pinot Nior barrels for nine months, where we introduced the beer to a mix of yeast and bacteria that Caleb brought down from Upland. After nine months, our new “dirty” cellar was ready, so we moved the beer to our 30 barrel oak foeder. (Pronounced FOOD-er, is a large oak barrel used to age beer. Some are previously used to age wine, while others are newly fabricated.)
To that foeder, we added 1200 pounds of mayhaws we sourced from a variety of local mayhaw farmers in 2015. (Huge “THANK YOU” to all of the Great Raft employees and significant others who kept mayhaws stored in their home freezers for over six months. We couldn't have done this without you!) After three months of aging on mayhaws, our collaboration is complete. We bottle conditioned for a few weeks and are finally ready to release the product. The result is a fruit forward sourness, accented by balanced acidity from various bacteria and expressive oaky tannins.
So here we are…14 months later. We’re ready to share our very first sour beer with the fine people of Louisiana. To kick it off, Caleb Staton will be in town on April 9 to help us unveil our year-long creation.
750 ml bottles and draft will be available in the tasting room on Saturday, April 9 at 2 PM. Bottles are $15 and 10 oz draft pours are $5.
Stop by to visit with Caleb and Great Raft team members between 2-6 PM. There may even be some special guest appearances from Upland’s sour program that will be available.
Shout out to Kim Kuchenbecker who made these awesome labels for this special edition bottle.