(Chico, CA) - The Brewers Association announced some details for SAVOR earlier this week and in doing so, quietly revealed that two titans of the craft beer industry will be doing the collaboration beer: Sierra Nevada Brewing and Boulevard Brewing.
Sierra Nevada Product Development Manager, Bill Manley says the BA approached them and Boulevard late last summer about doing the SAVOR beer. Sierra Nevada had already a done a beer for the organization, a symposium sour brown ale with Russian River for the 2011 Craft Brewers Conference. Several NorCal breweries participated in a 4-pack of beers.
Sierra Nevada founder, Ken Grossman, has known Boulevard founder, John McDonald, for decades. Sierra Nevada brewmaster, Steve Dresler, and Boulevard brewmaster, Steven Pauwels, are also friends. Manley says they agreed to do the beer immediately due to these long-established relationships. Friendships aside, the California Trail actually starts near Boulevard and, historically, acts as a connector of sorts between the two breweries.
From a storytelling perspective, it just works.
The teams brainstormed ideas and came up with a beer that both challenges style boundaries and has close ties to the terroir of the two breweries. They are calling it Terra Incognita, which translates to “Unknown Lands.”
Sierra Nevada brewed a batch that Manley described as a dark ale. Maltier than an amber but not quite a stout. They brewed it with Estate malts out of Chico and wheat, the latter as “an homage to the longtime staple crop of the Midwest.” The beer then traveled to Kansas City. Boulevard brewed another component, blended the two beers, dry-hopped it with East Kent Goldings and are now aging it in Missouri oak barrels that previously held wine and spirits. The beer will soon go into 750s where it will be bottle-conditioned with Brettanomyces.
Terra Incognita is exclusive to this year’s SAVOR event.
Last year’s SAVOR collaboration between Boston Beer Company and Dogfish Head is technically the largest All-American beer collaboration to date in terms of annual barrels produced by two collaborating breweries. Sierra Nevada previously collaborated with Dogfish Head on Life and Limb while Boulevard previously collaborated with Deschutes Brewing on White IPA.