Merci started as a blending project for our friends Paul Hayden and the crew of The Wine & Cheese Place in St. Louis. Before Side Project was what it is today, Paul always believed in us, generously helping us source unique barrels for projects (like Weller barrels for Derivation Blend #2) before we had even sold a drop of beer! To say the least, we have always been grateful for our friends at The Wine & Cheese Place and the idea of Merci - "thank you" - was conceived to give back to them without relying on their barrels.
Merci is a blended Missouri Wild Ale in which every blend has been unique. The foundation for this beer has always been un-fruited, blond Saisons and Wild Ales that focus on vinous characters that exemplify not only our love of wine, but that of the crew of The Wine & Cheese Place as well. The focus is simplistic blends that provide incredible depth and a fun, unique palate experience that showcases Side Project characteristics.
For the first two blends, I blended them alone, from a couple of small barrels, creating some great, but limited releases. For the past two blends, as we have been able to grow into a more comfortable size, we have used this blending session as a charitable donation (we auctioned off the blending session for Blend #3 for charity) and for a reward for The Wine & Cheese Place's best BRC (Beer Rewards Club) members (Blend #4).
Several months ago, we got together with The Wine & Cheese Place and some of their BRC members, sat down to samples of mature, blending ready beers that I had drawn from oak, and let everyone blend what they thought was best. I had everyone keep their blending notes, as I wanted do the final blend several days later and have them compare their notes to see how close they matched up to my final blend. The Blend information for Blend #4 is as follows:
- 43.6% of our Foedre Blond - 5 years of solera method in a french oak foedre
- 39.8% of #40 - 12 months in french oak puncheons (Blended 2017 recipe and processes)
- 8.7% of Foedre Terry - 8 months in french oak foedre (collaboration recipe with de Garde)
- 7.9% of Oude Fermier - barrel fermented and aged 18 months in french oak
Merci will be available to-go exclusively through The Wine & Cheese Place locations starting on Monday, September 10th. Check out their blog for details! http://blog.wineandcheeseplace.com/2018/07/side-project-merci-batch-4.html
Another benefit of working with them on this release is their ability to ship directly to many places around the country! We are always asked to ship beer to our fans, but legally, a brewery is not allowed to do so in the state of Missouri, but some retailers are! So, this release is a rare opportunity to have Side Project beers sent directly to your home (depending on where you live - please see The Wine & Cheese Place policies to verify).
We will save a limited number of bottles to have available for on-site enjoyment at both The Side Project Brewery and The Side Project Cellar in the coming weeks.
Thanks again for your love and support of our small, niche brewery. Hope that you enjoy Merci Blend #4 and many thanks to Paul Hayden and everyone at The Wine & Cheese Place.