Side Project Brewing Gives Us a Sneak Peek
Side Project's brand seared into a barrel. | Pat Kohm
King describes the envisioned modus operandi for Side Project as one featuring small-batch ales (like the upcoming "Fuzzy," a blond sour with Missouri-grown white peaches), all of which will age in wine or spirits barrels, soaking up immense amounts of flavor. It's a somewhat arduous process involving unique brewing strategies (King talks with the expertise of a chemist, dropping bacterial nomenclature that is impossible to spell) that incorporate traditional methods employed by brewers for hundreds of years, like open-air and spontaneous fermentation that allows nature to take its course. He also brings serious innovation and experimentation to the brew kettle with bourbon barrels and aging recipes.
To wit, the "The Origin:" Side Project's first release (hence the name) that, now complete, will never be brewed again (it's likely your only chance to try it will be during the release party, which is exactly why you should go). The Origin is a blend of Imperial Stout, Black Oatwine and Baltic Porter aged in one Rittenhouse Rye barrel over twenty months (and thus would be difficult to ever replicate), coming in at a whopping 14.3 ABV. Besides the Origin, two other beers will also be given top billing at the event: The Saison du Fermier (a Chardonnay-barrel-fermented Saison), and the Brett Project #1 (fermented and aged in wine barrels).
"Hot Liquor Tank," that's about all you need to know. | Pat Kohm
Eventually, King plans on opening his own storage facility to house the aging barrels where he would then also open a tasting room to display Side Project beers. Plus, he's an affable guy. "I love being behind the bar and talking with people," he says, and there's no doubt that much in the way of beer knowledge can be gained just by engaging with the brewmaster for a few minutes. Luckily, in the meantime Side Project's release party has a temporary home at Perennial, where King will continue to work and produce amazing beer.
The branding iron. | Pat Kohm
So, if you don't want to miss out on a one of the biggest beer releases of the year, be sure to check out Side Project's event on September 28, held at Perennial Artisan Ales. Doors open at noon, but long lines are expected to form early in the morning and the limited bottle supply will go fast -- so don't be lazy, set an alarm and wake up early. It'll be worth it.
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