As a sour/wild ale brewer, I draw a lot of inspiration from the wine industry in process, techniques and oak aging. Actually, the first fruited wild ale I ever brewed as a professional brewer was with Missouri Chambourcin wine grapes. At Side Project, I have continued to use wine grapes whenever I have the tank and oak space available, and for the 2017 harvest we added some tanks to accommodate the 5 beer/wine hybrid Missouri Wild Ales we produced.
The first of these to be released will be Punchdown Pinot Noir:
Punchdown is our Missouri Wild Ale that is aged on Missouri Red Wine Grapes. For the first blend, released back in June of 2015, we used Chambourcin grapes from Charleville Vineyards. For the 2017 harvest, not only did we want to use Missouri Red Wine Grapes in one batch - Chambourcin specifically, from Noboleis Vineyards in Augusta - we also wanted to experiment with our favorite red varietal, Pinot Noir, in a separate Punchdown that we are calling Punchdown Pinot Noir! Punchdown Pinot Noir is a beer/wine hybrid, where 51% of the liquid is Missouri Wild Ale and the remaining 49% is Pinot Noir that was co-fermented with our Missouri Wild Ale. We sourced our hot weather Pinot Noir directly from S & L Vineyards of Lodi, California, for its herbaceous tones to provide balance to our bright acidity. The final result of the California Pinot Noir in Punchdown is a more delicate red wine expression than Missouri Chambourcin, with bold notes of fragrant red berries, red flowers, sangria, smoked herbs and bright citrus acid. We are incredibly excited about our expansion of Wine Grapes in our Missouri Wild Ales and hope that you enjoy our marrying of Pinot Noir and our Punchdown.
I am very excited to continue to share my love of wine through our Missouri Wild Ales at Side Project. As we continue to expand our fruited wild ale production, I hope to continue to experiment with different wine grape varietals from different regions and showcase the importance of the quality of fruit that we select for every batch of beer.
Punchdown Pinot Noir will be available to-go starting on Saturday, August 11th at both the Side Project Brewery and the Side Project Cellar. Bottles will be $20 each and allocations be based on the turnout when we open. As always, thank you so much for your love for our unique, niche Missouri Wild Ales and hope you enjoyed reading about Punchdown Pinot Noir.