Sonoma Vinnie Chilurzo’s barrel chamber is carefully organized. The Russian River Brewery Company has 6,000 square meters at exactly 58°F, and carefully stored wooden barrels are stacked five high.
Many wineries think I have more barrels than she does, Chilurzo said.
He should know that. In 1978 his family Cilurzo Winery opened in Temecula, California. He worked both there and in the Corbel Champagne cellar before switching to beer. (The Russian River Brewery was originally owned by Corbel. The brewery was purchased by Kilurzo in 2003).
But at the end of the nineties Cilurzo combined his wine background with his passion for beer to produce the first draught beer of the Russian river. One beer, the Temptation, is aged in Chardonnay barrels, and the Pinot Noir is casked.
With their fruity acidity, balanced by sweet woody tones, these beers became collectors’ items almost immediately. This beer is always brewed, seasoned and tested in the modern factory of Cilurzo.
About 250 miles south of Sonoma, master mixer Jim Crooks runs the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles. The founders, Andrew Firestone and David Walker, worked in the wine industry when they started a brewery in the family wine barn in 1996. The brewery produces sour fruit beers and many experimental beers based on wild yeast.
When Crooks became interested in sour beer, he worked with Chuck Carlson of Curtis Winery. Carlson taught the villains terms such as minerality and new dimensions of fermentation such as titrability. Besides the new vocabulary Carlson also gave grapes to the Crooks. In 2012, Firestone Walker started producing beer with a high percentage of fermented sugar from grapes.
It was as if two people came together fluently in different languages and we found a way to talk to each other. – Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray Vineyards.
Crooks is working with winemaker Andrew Murray on a range of beers made from 49% grapes, which is a legal restriction to still be considered beer. In 2017, at the Brussels Beer Contest, Feral Vinifera took on one of the most prestigious sour, wild and traditional beers in the world. He won the Komack trophy for the best show.
Murray says the mixing sessions for making beer have been instructive. It was like two people who were fluent in different languages came together and we found out how to talk to each other, he said.
The exchange of knowledge was two-way. The Murray label with winemaker Mckenna Giardine, E11even (pronounced eleven), produces experimental wines with minimal intervention. Jardine does not refine E11 wines, even with commercial yeast, but produces wines with a funkier taste and less predictable fermentation.
Like sour beer E11even Pet Nat is bottled with live yeast. / Photo to professions and clusters
One of these wines, Pet Nat de E11even, uses the ancestral method of bottling with live yeast, as with sour beer. When Jardine made her pet Nat her first companion, the crooks came to the estate to help her.
That’s what I am: Well, you finally speak my language, the crooks said. The subjects treated are common for sour beers, such as the capture of the right amount of carbon dioxide during bottling in the young stages of fermentation, or the turbidity caused by refermentation in the bottle.
Pet Nat has produced perfect pearls and a beautiful froth, Murray says, as well as several fruit testers that remind him of wheat beer. If you just poured it, you’d be surprised if it was one of Jim’s beers, but it’s not sour, he says.
Back in Sonoma, another experimental winemaker crosses the line by including Brettanomyces, the wild yeast known as Brett, which can produce unwanted aromas such as smoke and musky notes in wine. The winegrowers were so afraid of the consequences that the cellars destroyed their entire stock of barrels in order to eradicate Brett’s contamination.
I’m sure I’m one of the few people in the world who does, says Mandy Heldt Donovan, founder/winemaker of Merisi Wines, about her 100% fermented Brett wines.
She mentions the Russian river brewery Cilurzo as an influence. She spent time in her barrel room in Sonoma to learn how to get the positive fruit and flower aromas from Brett for main fermentation. Cilurzo says that Cilurzo proves that the Brett is a tool for revealing all sorts of wine flavours, and the winemakers take it away just in time.
Donovan asked Silurzo to taste their Pinot Gris, the fear of the winemaker who had given up Brett for his debut in 2018. Now she brings out a bottle every Halloween.
Pinot gris has the taste of earthy cucumber peel and spicy ginger. These are notes not usually associated with the breed, but found in sour beers, such as Ale’s Season Bretta Farm in Logsdon, and in Russia’s own River Initiation.
There’s a certain group that really likes it… and then other people are like that: It’s just weird, she says. But these people don’t drink sour beer or kombucha either.
wine beer brands,cider vs wine,cider beer brands,cider vs beer,beer and wine mix,beer and wine near me,type 23 small beer manufacturer license,woods beer,trendy alcohol 2020,australian alcohol trends,start up alcohol company,alcohol delivery trends,2020 alcohol,bon appétit natural wine,beer and wine license,bon appétitwine,hard cider