Imagine Missoula and Big Sky Brewing are gearing up to release the latest version of All Souls Ale, the 2012 Christmas Edition. All profits from the limited-edition brew go toward Imagine Missoula, a nonprofit “working to make Missoula better than it already is.”
If it seems like the last version was only released a few months ago, well, you’re right. Because of a brewing issue last year, Big Sky made the 2012 All Souls Easter Edition, a Dark Tripel, in April and now has the 2012 All Souls Christmas Edition ready for release. This version is again an Imperial Saison, like the original, punching in at about 11 percent alcohol by volume.
There are only 100 cases up for grabs, although at least 26 cases have already been sold. The 750 ml bottles sell for $14, half-cases go for $84 and cases for $168. If you want to place an order, call Nina Alviar at (406) 546-4697.
The release party is Friday, Dec. 7, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Big Sky taproom. There will be food, music by Tom Catmull and the Clerics and, of course, beer. They ask that you RSVP if you’re interested.
Can’t make it? Don’t fret. The beer will also be on tap at Big Sky after Dec. 7.
- Matt Pritchard
Missoula in known for a number of greats: scenery, people, fishing and (of course) microbrews.
Two of my favorite local beers are Cold Smoke and Summer Honey, from Kettlehouse Brewing Co. and Big Sky Brewing Co., respectively. Both are great for different reasons, and in case you’ve been living in the cave above Mount Sentinel, here’s a quick breakdown:
• Cold Smoke is a dark Scotch Ale imbued with roasted barley, giving it a “smoky” flavor.
• Summer Honey is of lighter fare, combining Northwest hops and Montana honey.
Being a notorious tinkerer, I decided to mix the two one night while barbecuing with the fam. The result? Quite possibly the best beer I’ve ever experienced. The two brews balance each other perfectly, dancing on the palate before smoothly slipping away.
I highly recommend that you stop reading this and immediately make your own. … But be warned: The blend is so fantastic that you may have a hard time drinking anything else. Seriously.
The tentative name for this delightful mix is Cold Honey, but here are some alternatives for your enjoyment:
• Summer Smoke – Depending on our fire season, this one may take the top slot.
• Missoula Black & Tan – Not as smooth on the tongue, but has the potential to unite the clans.
• Austin Ale – Shameless promo for the inventor, but clever use of the “AA” abbreviation.
Whatever you call it, please enjoy responsibly. And fret not, Jürgen, as I am sure there will be a Bayern blend very soon!
- Rod Austin is a Missoula native and local beer enthusiast. Reach him at rod.austin (at) gmail.com
This announcement out of Stone Brewing Co., has me very excited. Why? Because the thought of brewers putting out beers without regard to formal style considerations or cost of ingredients means that we finally have achieved high art in the craft of brewing.
Here’s the latest collaborative effort from Stone Brewing Co., Firestone Walker and 21st Amendment:
Sure, we’re a bunch of Arrogant Bastards, but we humbly admit that we were inspired to start brewing by other fantastic breweries and homebrewers. There are a whole lot of fellow craft brewers who we respect and admire, and who we’ve wanted to collaborate with. So why just dream about it? Starting in 2008, we released a new series of collaboration beers. The goal was to get three brewers from three different breweries to put their heads together and have some fun with no regard for boundaries. No restrictions on fitting a beer into a lineup, using familiar ingredients, conforming to preconceived beer styles, using tested procedures in the brewing process or even affordability. Each of these beers is the result of three brewers coming together and doing what they love. Therefore, many of our collaborations include ridiculous amounts of decadent ingredients without regard for shelf price. And because our collaborations are usually only brewed once, they can be rather difficult to find, and once they run out—they run out. Consider yourself warned.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these liquid tributes to the spirit of camaraderie, you’ll agree that the end result is worth it.
This is an excerpt from a little documentary about Stone Brewing Co.’s collaboration with European breweries. Instead of buying the world a Coke and teaching them how to sing, we’re giving the world a craft beer and teaching them how to get a long.
Though it’s many thousands of miles away, Mikeller Brewery in Denmark might just be one of my favorite craft breweries anywhere. This is not a light statement either. There are many factors that surround this. For one, Mikkeller pays tribute to the adventurous American breweries who are not afraid of taste and exploration in brewing techniques and styles. Mikkeller would like to emulate that in Denmark, where light lagers dominate the market. Another reason is that Mikkeller is not afraid of collaboration with other European breweries to create fascinating Old/New World combinations like single-hop beers with the addition of brettamyoces. (a yeast strain that produces a prominent smell characteristic in many Belgian and French beer varieties. Yet another reason is that one of the original founders of Mikkeller, Kristian Klarup Keller, is a journalist, and, well, you all know how I feel about journalists, especially journalists who like good craft beer.
Recently, someone opened a bottle of Mikkeller’s Struise Mikeller, (Elliot Beer) a strong-hopped Northwest-style IPA with a Struise strong blond. But then again, everyone gets a long with blonds, don’t they? The marriage of these two beers is interesting. I’ll withhold any judgement as to this being the best in the style I’ve ever had, because I’ve never had the style before. But the fact that the two breweries collaborated on something this unique is extraordinary, and it’s here that the U.S. breweries could learn a lesson. Yes, your bottom line beers are important, to your bottom line no less. But what is driving the popularity of craft beer is the innovative styles unique to various communities that are becoming more readily available elsewhere. I remember when I had my first Mikkeller here in Missoula. I was astounded that a Scandinavian craft brewery could produce such wonderful U.S. craft styles. Then out of nowhere, they explode to become Rate Beer’s 5th highest-ranking brewery in the world.
It goes to show you the value of playing well with others and brewing as an art instead of a business science. Those of us who love craft beer will love you all the more for your willingness to be inventive rather than your ability to put a fairly standard IPA, brown ale or stout on the shelves of the local grocery store throughout the year. When Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout sells out in places like Seattle and other western cities, it brings so much more attention to the brewery for the fact that the beer is limited.
Many limited beers are now becoming full-fledged production beers, which opens many more people up to trying different styles, which then creates demands for new beers, which increases creative interest at breweries, and the whole thing is just a big, vicious circle of craft-beer loveliness.