(San Francisco, CA) – 21st Amendment Brewery is about to round out a huge month that saw its Brew Free! or Die IPA become one of the only craft beers featured on American flights when it struck a deal with Virgin America. According to Co-Founder Shaun O’Sullivan on Twitter, the brewery will soon release its third beer in cans. This comes after Hell or High Watermelon Wheat and the aforementioned Brew Free! both made their canned debuts during the summer of 2006. 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood is that beer and the first in a new series of “once-in-a-while” four-packs called The Insurrection Series.
Monk’s Blood, an oak-aged Belgian-style Dark Ale, first appeared on tap late last winter though its origins are a bit hazy. The product spec sheet points to a trip to West Flanders, Belgium that inspired Founders, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan, to create the recipe. On the other hand, the late Bill Brand reported the following at the beginning of the year: “The Homebrew Chef. Sean Z. Paxton, chef and brewer extraordinaire is paring and cooking with the beer Monk’s Blood, that he guest brewed at the 21st Amendment for this year’s Strong Beer Month. Monk’s Blood, made with exotic sugars, is based on the beer “Saucerful of Secrets” that he designed and brewed at Firestone Walker Brewery with Matt Brynildson.” Paxton hosted a beer dinner to celebrate the release of Monk’s Blood on Monday so there must be a silver lining somewhere here.
The beer is brewed using an Abbey Ale yeast and features a hefty malt bill: Belgian Pilsner, Two-row pale, Caramunich, Caravienne, Aromatic, Special B (I always recognize this because it’s prominent in Portstmouth Kate the Great), Flaked oats, and Flaked wheat. The hop profile is more subtle (34 IBUs) with Magnum and Centennial used as bittering hops, and Amarillo used for flavor. Dark Belgian Candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and dried black mission figs are also present.
This is a superb-looking package and if it was developed in-house, I am seriously impressed . . . so much so that I am actually going out of my way to recommend that the Dieline folks follow up on this. Sullivan posted a pic on Facebook earlier this afternoon. If you want to catch a sneak peek glimpse of what it will look like in your glass, check out Jesse Friedman’s pics from the Monk’s Blood Dinner on Flickr.
As for the scribbles on the side of the can/box, I did my best to copy it down incase there was anything interesting (“spinning a remix of some Gregorian chants” anyone?).
“Legend has it that in the evenings, the monks would retire to their chambers & settle in with a few passages from the Good Book. But Brothers Nicolas and O’Sullivan [21st Amendment partners] had other plans. Working in the brewhouse all day, they were forced to repeat the same old recipes the elder monks had invented years before. They needed a little diversion. And found it in the cellar of the monastery with a fresh twist they put on the beer and the way they enjoyed it. Brother Nicolas (or Nico to his close friend) brought some hand-rolled cigars. O’Sullivan, the outspoken one, broke the vow of silence by spinning a remix of some Gregorian chants. Together, they’d throw down a couple nice hands of Texas Hold’Em and savor the handcrafted brew they created in secrecy. Everyday was good. Or so it seemed. But deep in his heart, Nico knew they were driving(?) into the ‘dark side’ of beer. Next thing you know they’d be skipping Lent. Then on night they’d face the Judgment for their actions with a hard knock at the door. Outside, the Abbots and elders would be holding stone in the air. A threat the brothers were sure would lead to the spilling of Monk’s Blood.”