[7/3 Update: We've written about Isabelle Proximus in eight different articles in the last couple months. The beer has now been sold out except for those mysterious cases that will hit various bars around the country. Our only update with respect to that at this time is that we know Monk's Cafe in Philly and Brouwer's Cafe in Seattle will get some.]
Tomme Arthur continues to churn out new beers at a rapid clip, quick enough to the point that the internet is too slow to catch up to him. Seriously, type “Lost Abbey Inferno Ale” into Google and see what you come up with. What about “Isabelle Proximus?” You will only find references to a sold-out April 20 beer event hosted by Certified Executive Chef and beer dinner expert, Bruce Paton, featuring not one but five breweries on-hand. Relatively little is known about these two newest beers…until now.
One clarification should be made before going any further. This is old information but Isabelle Proximus is not actually just Lost Abbey‘s beer; it is the brainchild of four other breweries as well. For this project, Lost Abbey collaborated with Russian River Brewing, Dogfish Head, Avery Brewing, and Allagash Brewing. According to metalllitone1 at Beer Advocate, “Each brewer contributed four barrels (Dogfish Head contributed two) and their own yeast strain. They brewed a large batch that was the base beer and barrel aged it in the barrels from each brewery with there yeast. After tasting each barrel there was a final blend. Every brewery made it into the final blend.” He also posts a link to his photo album showing the aforementioned tasting and the barrels (any guesses as to what the top barrels were from Russian River and Dogfish Head?).
Isabelle is slated to make its debut the night of the 20th at the San Francisco event, dubbed “Five Guys and a Barrel,” accompanying a toast [kudos to Bill Brahm, who revealed back in November on his "What's on Tap" beer blog that this dinner would take place]. The Cathedral Hill Hotel dinner will also feature Russian River Supplication, Avery The Maharaja, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, and Allagash Interlude among others.
Arthur confirmed today, as rumored, that Isabelle Proximus will be a sour ale and that less than 400 cases were produced. It will also be on-hand at “the Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Championships in San Diego this month” according to Keith Johnsen, Director for Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club. The beer will be available for limited release at the brewery around that time UPDATE HERE though Arthur was unable to say whether there would be any left over to distribute elsewhere.
Lost Abbey Inferno Ale is the brewery’s special release shipping this month exclusively for the Rare Beer Club [thanks to Beer Veteran, Westsidethreat, for this tip!]. This beer is described as “a golden Belgian-style strong ale in the mold of Duvel.” According to Arthur, this will be distributed in mid-May on the West Coast and also see some distribution in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. How is the brewery able to produce all this beer? Johnsen elaborates in the Rare Beer Club newsletter that, “Three new tanks were installed last week, a new bottling line is in the works, and the sophisticated barrel beer program is now up to 300 casks.” It would appear as though the craft beer renaissance taking place out in San Marcos, California, is only about to get bigger.
The brewery also just released Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout last month. Early beer reviews indicate that this imperial stout could eventually land in the top 100 at both Beer Advocate and Ratebeer.