We met Ryan Burk years ago, when he was living in Chicago and was the head cider maker at Virtue Cider. His passion for fermentation was something that we shared and his practices and techniques for producing fantastic ciders in both stainless and oak led to a collective admiration as we became friends. We have always had a love for wine, but he opened our eyes to the joys of cider in a whole new way.
Pouring beside him, tasting his natively fermented, his barrel fermented and his various takes on traditional ciders at events like The Festival of Farmhouse Ales at Hill Farmstead and Uppers and Downers in Chicago, led to discussions of a collaboration. It took more than 3 years for this to happen, but Ryan was the first person that we brewed with when we moved to our new brewery in Maplewood.
In October of 2016, Ryan shipped us some crabapples from their orchards in Walden, New York and then he joined us for the brewing and processing of all of the fruit. Crabapples are very high in tannins and malic acid, two components not present in well made beer. We decided to formulate a recipe with a good body and round malt profile to lend a balance to the drying effect of the tannins and acid. What we created was inspired by an Oud Bruin and we call it a Missouri Sour Brown that was fermented on and aged with New York crabapples with natives cultures from both states and then aged in Pinot Noir puncheons for over a year. We then bottled this beer and let it condition for 5 months before its release, this Saturday, March 17th.
The malt and apples play a wonderful role together and have created not only a unique beer, but one that is incredibly delicious. We debuted Burk at our Vista beer dinner and it was surprise highlight amongst almost everyone. It paired so well with the food, yet would be great to just drink alone. With collaborations, you usually brew something that neither of the parties would have brewed by themselves, but we are very glad that we brewed this and hope to brew it again one day.
Bottles will be available to-go and for on-site enjoyment at both The Side Project Cellar and at The Brewery starting this Saturday. Not only will Ryan be on hand, but we brought in some of his special ciders to enjoy as well! Bottles will be $20 to-go and allocations will be based on turnout. Thanks again for all of your support for our niche brewery and hope to see you this weekend!