Sitting around a table at Kickback’s in the King Street Beer District talking about beer is not an unusual occurrence for me. I can often be found prowling the establishments along that storied street from Lola’s to Bold City Brewing, looking for good beer and great conversation. But, last Friday, Oct. 26, it was the guests at the table and the reason for the gathering that made all the difference.
Surrounded by several beer bloggers, John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski, owners of Terrapin Beer Co., spoke about their newest release; Jérôme and Spike’s 2011 Barley Ryne. The brew, a collaboration with Swiss brewery BFM, is a hearty barleywine made with about 20% rye malt. The gathering was put together by Team Hopheads to introduce the new brew to the Jacksonville market.
John and Spike met as brewers at an Atlanta microbrewery and quickly began to piece together a plan for a new brewery in Athens, Ga. Terrapin had humble beginnings as a contract brewer, but in 2002 released the first beer of their own. That beer, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale went on to win a gold medal at that year’s Great American Beer Festival in Colo. Since then the brewery has won many medals at beer competitions world-wide. Along with the accolades, the brewery has grown from producing just 162 barrels of beer in 2002 to an expected 24,000 in 2012.
The inspiration of Jérôme and Spike’s came from a chance meeting of Jérôme Rebetez, brewer at Swiss brewery Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM). Jérôme was in Athens visiting and decided to tour the Terrapin brewery. He and Spike quickly became friends and started talking about doing a collaboration brew. A style and recipe was hammered out through email and the result was Jérôme and Spike’s 2011 Barley Ryne.
The brew is unique in that it was brewed at both breweries using the same ingredients except for one; the yeast. Each brewery used their own strains and the brews came out very different. The U.S. version is a smooth, rich, and warm brew that was aged in American oak bourbon barrels for 11 months. It has enticing notes of dark fruits, oak, and alcohol on the nose that carry through to the flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla. The Swiss version tracks closer to a Flanders sour than a barleywine with aromas of red wine, brown sugar, and rum. The flavor reveals a complex brew that hints of caramel and toffee among tart cherries and grapes.
For those interested in the particulars of the brew, it was made with the following ingredients:
Malt: 2-Row, Rye, Munich, Carapils, CaraAroma, Caramunich III, Melanoidin
Hops: Bravo, Columbus, U.S. Golding, Amarillo
And, of course, each brewery’s yeast.
The finished product weighs in at 10.03% ABV.
Look for Jérôme and Spike’s 2011 Barley Ryne at your local beer seller now. But, hurry as it is in very limited supply.
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