Bookends - Our Collaboration with our friends at 4 Hands Brewing Company

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There is supposedly a "Brewers' Row" in St. Louis that runs the length of Manchester Road. It was explained to me that if you start at our Side Project brewery in Maplewood and travel east on Manchester, you can visit 8 breweries, ending at our friends at 4 Hands near downtown. Meaning that Side Project and 4 Hands provide the "Bookends" to the unofficial St. Louis "Brewers' row."

We sat down with Kevin, Martin and Andy of 4 Hands Brewing Company more than a year ago to start talking about some collaborations. We first wanted to get some Side Project / 4 Hands collaborations in oak to allow them to age and then we would continue to work together on some Shared / 4 Hands IPA collaborations that we will brew in the near future. 

For our first collaboration, we barrel-fermented a Missouri Wild Ale that started life as a Saison malt bill, that was fermented entirely in wine barrels with a Saison yeast that was blended with our house Side Project cultures. We really wanted to go a different direction with the fruit that we chose for this beer and ended up going a route that neither of us had really pushed before by using a thoughtful, but aggressive amount of citrus in the kettle and at packaging. 

We brewed this beer with the juice from Limes and Mandarin Oranges, Sweet and Bitter Orange Peel and then conditioned it with the juice from Clementines. We allowed this beer to ferment and age in the same oak barrels for more than a year before blending, bottling and letting it naturally condition. 

On July 14th, at both The Side Project Cellar and the Side Project Brewing Tasting Room, we will have bottles available to go and we will also be tapping a keg at each location to allow to taste the loads of vibrant orchard fruit acidity from our native Side Project cultures, plus the added citric quality from the citrus fruit that we chose to meld into this beautiful sour beer! 

Allocations will be based on the turnout and some of the 4 Hands crew will be stopping by to hang out and say hi as well. Hope to see you this weekend!

Cheers,
Cory

Raspe - Our First Red Raspberry Missouri Wild Ale

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Red Raspberries are one of the most traditional fruits used in wild and sour brewing. They provide one of the best experiences when refermented properly in well-made wild and sour beers. Their flavors, their jammy-ness and their ability to maintain a lively, energetic, youthful presence in sour beer is what makes them a favorite of mine. 

Over the last 5 years at Side Project, I have been unable to locally source the amount of Red Raspberries I needed to make a full production batch of beer with them. I have sourced Black Raspberries locally in the past, which are known for their spicy, spruce-like, forest floor, high tannin flavors, which we've exemplified in Side Project Fencerow. 

It was time to referment a blend of our Missouri Wild Ales on Red Raspberries to illustrate the differences in Red and Black Raspberries. Fortunately, some friends of ours (thank you Jeff and Averie of Jester King), pointed us in the direction of Decker Farms in Oregon to help us source a huge amount of beautiful Red Raspberries for this new beer - Raspe.

Raspe is a blend of blond Missouri Wild Ales that were fermented entirely with our Missouri cultures and aged in French oak until maturity. At maturity, a blend was chosen and then moved on top of more than 4,000 lbs of Decker Farms Oregon Red Raspberries in one of our American Oak Foedres from our friends at Foeder Crafters of America. The result is a lively, jammy, vibrant beer that showcases the quality of the fruit that was selected and the maturation time of the whole process to produce Raspe. For reference, we used as much Red Raspberries in Raspe as we used Black Raspberries in Fencerow! 

Raspe will be released to-go and for on-site enjoyment on Saturday, June 23rd at both The Side Project Cellar and the Brewery tasting room. Raspe will be $20 per 375mL bottle and allocations will be based on the turnout the day of the release.

Important Release Reminders:

  • The Side Project Brewing parking lot will be closed to all vehicles. Please park in any public Maplewood parking, like the large parking lot next to The Side Project Cellar at 7373 Marietta Ave. Do not park in any private lots like CVS or the funeral home.
  • Open containers are only allowed in our parking lot - on our property until 12pm. Open Containers are NOT allowed on any public Maplewood sidewalks. Any and all bottle sharing must cease at 12pm when our tasting room opens. 
  • We will rent additional restrooms to set up in our parking lot.  

Thanks for taking the time to read the release details for our new beer, Raspe, and we hope to see you on Saturday. 

Cheers,
Cory and Karen King

O. W. K.

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I wanted to brew something for our son, something that was new and unique, but still grounded in Side Project and would warrant the sharing of his initials as its name. I wanted to brew a beer that I could one day share with him and explain what it is about this beer that really exemplifies why I love brewing and blending. We believe that the 2018 vintage of O.W.K. is ready and we are excited to share this beer with you beginning Saturday, May 26th. Bottles will be available for on-site enjoyment only (no bottles of O.W.K. available to take home).

From the label: 

O.W.K. is the culmination of our stout production. We intertwined several of our favorite recipes into this massive stout and then aged it for 15 months in 15-year-old Willett Family Estate Bourbon barrels which were hand-selected by our friend Drew Kulsveen of Willett Distillery. Once mature, the 2018 O.W.K. was rested on Ugandan Vanilla Beans, adding layers of milk chocolate, decadent fudge and earthy vanilla to the rich, lucious body of this Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.

We now have 8 different recipes in which our Derivations, B:B:T and Shared BA Vibes beers are blended from. For O.W.K., I wrote a new recipe that was destined for hand-selected Willett Family Estate barrels. 

About 18 months ago, we brewed the new O.W.K. recipe and started aging it in these hand-selected barrels. Several of the barrels made their way into the 2017 vintage of Beer : Barrel : Time, and several of the remaining barrels are still aging for the 2018 vintage of Beer : Barrel : Time. However, just three of the barrels filled on that first brew day, three of the 15-year-old Willett Family Estate Bourbon to be exact, were chosen to represent this, the 2018 Vintage of O.W.K.. 

After resting for 15 months in the 15-year-old barrels, I decided I wanted an essence of Derivation Blend #2 to live on in the 2018 Vintage of O.W.K.. So, I decided to more than double the vanilla, lending to not only the luxurious vanilla presence, but also the ability of this beer to age for years to come. 

As always, we used only the best ingredients we could find to address every aspect of brewing, fermenting and aging this Imperial Stout. In a time where adjuncts are often just flavorings and extracts from a bottle, we spent a large amount of time sourcing and processing natural Ugandan Vanilla Beans for this beer to rest on to add that last layer of authenticity. 

Bottles will be available for on-site enjoyment only. There will be a limit of 1 bottle per person per day and bottles will be available at both the Brewery Tasting Room (7458 Manchester Road) and The Side Project Cellar (7373 Marietta Ave.) in Maplewood. This is obviously a special beer for us and we are so excited to be able to share it with you this weekend. Thank you!

Cheers,
Cory and Karen King

Copains - Our Collaboration with our Friends at Boulevard Brewing Co - Releases Saturday, May 12th at both locations.

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When we think of inspirational beers, beers that have in some fashion directed Side Project along the path in which it has taken, Boulevard Saison Brett is in that small group of beers. Saison Brett and Orval taught our palates how expressive Brettanomyces can be when used in a particular way - flavors that were unlike any we had experienced before.

Not only do we love the beers from Boulevard, but when we first started Side Project, no other brewery was more helpful with some of our bottle conditioning questions, with showing us around their lab and with other technical questions that only a brewery of their size and reputation could help with. Through our mutual love of sour beer and of blending and experimenting with all of the intricacies of developing these complex beers, we formed some really great friendships with Steven Pauwels and Jeremy Danner of Boulevard Brewing Company. 

Several years ago, we were invited by Brewmaster Steven Pauwels to brew with Boulevard, a beer for their summer festival, Boulevardia. Ever since, we have been trying to find a date to have the Boulevard crew come to our side of the state and do a blending collaboration with us, something that was inspired by their Love Child series and our Pulling Nails series. 

Last November we sat down with Steven Pauwels, Jeremy Danner and Ryan McNieve, and we tasted through a majority of the mature beers that we had at Side Project. It was fun watching them try to blend beers that they were tasting for the first time as we guided them through which beers we were in love with and blends that we thought would best represent both of us once the Side Project bottle conditioning had transformed the blend in the bottles and kegs. 

What resulted was a Love Child / Pulling Nails blend that was named Copains, for our "Buddies" from the other side of the state. This beautiful, very balanced, yet complex blend consists of the following:

Copains Blend #1
30% Missouri Flanders Red from a French Oak Foedre (18 months old)
30% Raspberry Biere du Pays from a Missouri Oak Foedre (6 months old)
28% Missouri Sour Brown from a Missouri Oak Foedre (12 months old)
10% Méthode Traditionnelle Spontaneous from a 500L Puncheon (36 months old)
2% Imperial Stout from a Charred Missouri Oak Foedre (5 months old)

The beer was blended in December of 2017 and then allowed to bottle and keg condition for almost 5 months before we thought it was ready to share. The release of the To-Go 750mL bottles will be May 12th at both the Side Project Brewery tasting room and The Side Project Cellar. The bottles will be $30 per bottle and allocations will be based on the turnout of people to make sure that everyone can get an allocation of beer. 

We couldn't be more thankful and honored to have had Steven, Jeremy and Ryan come to St. Louis and work on this delicious Missouri beer with us. We hope to see everyone on Saturday for the release!

Cheers!
Cory King

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Pitter Patter - our Pluot Missouri/Ohio Wild Ale Collaboration with Brad Clark of Jackie O's - Release Details

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We met Brad Clark 4 years ago in Copenhagen when Side Project made its first trip to the Copenhagen Beer Celebration. He was a brewer I had always admired - always brewing something new, focusing on barrels and barrel-aging and really epitomizing my favorite style when I was first getting into beer - the barrel-aged stout. To say the least, we were very excited to see him come over to our booth to try some Side Project beers.

Not only is Brad an incredible brewer, but he is also an incredible friend. We have shared beers together from California to Copenhagen and many places in between. He helped us decorate our first Christmas tree at our new house and I've had the privilege of spending the afternoon in his barrel warehouse "lounge." He is always a pleasure to be around and I am always thankful for the time we get to spend together doing what we love to do - brewing beer.

So far, we have brewed Appervation twice in Athens and Amis Pour Toujours, Pitter Patter and an unnamed Maple Wheatwine in St. Louis. These beers have become an excuse, a definitive schedule for us, to make sure we make time to get together and hang out, and I have no reason to believe that we won't continue to add to these collaborations every year. 

When our new brewery opened up in Maplewood, Brad was quick to come to St. Louis to brew with us. He was actually the second collaboration we brewed at our new facility (Ryan Burk beat him by 1 day!). He and I had wanted to brew with Pluots, a cross between a plum and an apricot, and this was the foundation and inspiration for Pitter Patter. We brewed a more complex malt bill than I normally do for our fruited wild ales, and we feel it turned out wonderfully and we will be brewing it again. It has a beautiful sunset orange hue and a whole grain doughiness that sits very well underneath the acidity of the Missouri and Ohio mixed cultures that we blended to barrel ferment this beer in puncheons. 

At maturity we then racked the beer on to California Pluots (purple skin and orange flesh) for refermentation. After 6 months of refermentation and another 5 months bottle and keg conditioning, Pitter Patter is ready to be shared. 

Now more than 17 months after brewing, we are ready to release Pitter Patter for to-go and for on-site enjoyment Saturday, April 28th at Open at both Side Project locations. Bottles (375ml) will be $20 to-go and the allocations will be determined the morning of the release based on the number of people who join us.

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