If you already know you want to join, scroll to the bottom to see the different membership options. Otherwise, read on to learn about the brewery, our barrel program, and the benefits of membership.
We’re a new brewery in Tombstone, AZ committed to brewing World Class Beer in the Town Too Tough To Die. We served our first beers in October of 2016, and we opened our tap room in December of 2016. Our beers have gotten consistently high praise from the very first batch. We frequently make Untappd’s list of Top 50 Breweries and came away with three medals after entering our first three beers in competition in 2017.
We quickly developed a reputation for extremely juicy, intensely hoppy beers, but we aren’t a one-trick pony. In addition to making very well received traditional beers, we’ve already started a small barrel program and had a successful five-bottle release of barrel-aged beers at our official grand opening in February of 2017. Those beers included an oaked sour and three whiskey barrel imperial stout variants, almost all of which sold out immediately. A small program like what we have isn’t going to cut it for us, unfortunately.
We aren’t asking for help to get our brewery off the ground. We aren’t asking for money to help us operate. We’re looking for people who want to enjoy the fruits of a barrel program like nothing else. We aren’t content to stick a beer in a whisky cask here and there. We’re already doing that. Even the making the occasional fruited, oaked sours every once in a while won’t be enough. We’re already doing that too.
What we want is the sort of program that explores all things barrel – every step of the process from primary fermentation to extended aging, and every style from fresh-oak-fermented hazy New England IPAs to freshly wet-hopped brett beers that have been in wine barrels for the better part of a year. If it can be done in a barrel, we’ll be doing it.
Still curious? Keep reading to see how it’ll work.
PROPOSED BARREL METHODS
Our method relies on using new, toasted oak barrels for different types of beers in various stages:
New barrels arrive at the brewery and are used for primary fermentation of “clean” beers which will go into cans and kegs. Style ideas include things like an Oak Fermented IPA, Chocolate Stout, and ESB; essentially, any normal ale style that we believe could benefit from fermentation in oak. These beers would be in the barrels for a short period of time, normally less than a week. The main reason for this type of fermentation is that it allows us to create flavors that would otherwise be impossible to achieve in stainless steel fermenters.
The beers at this stage will take on light vanilla flavors from the barrel, but perhaps more importantly, the yeast will perform differently in a different shaped fermentation vessel. Because the barrels are shallower than a typical conical fermenter, the yeast will not have as much pressure put on it, thus creating more esters. The yeast will also fall out of suspension much faster in a shallow vessel and will increase the mouthfeel of the beer to be perceived as extra creamy. The barrels will be used up to 10 times in this manner and will be steam sanitized between batches.
After the barrels have been used as primary fermentation vessels, we will graduate the barrels to their second stage of usefulness: Aging vessels for specialty beers. Styles we’ve discussed so far include: Belgian Golden Strong Ale Aged on Raisins, Oak Aged Dopplebock, and fresh fruit beers. This is the point where we will allow the barrels to age up to 3 months. During this time, the beer will take on a more intense barrel character and will allow for micro-oxygenation of the beer which will speed up the maturation process. These beers will mostly be packaged in 500 ml bottles. We anticipate using the barrels for 3-4 batches in Stage 2.
The third stage is perhaps the most exciting part of a barrel program in our eyes. In stage 3, we will use the barrels as long term aging vessels for Brett beers and sour beers. These beers are more unpredictable than the types of beers that will be produced in the first 2 stages, however, we anticipate leaving these beers in barrels for 6-18 months to either sour or ferment. These beers will be packaged in 750 mL bottles and at this point, the barrels will only see brett or sour beers in them until they begin to fall apart, at which point we will sell them to people that want them for decorations or furniture.
In addition to using unused oak barrels, our barrel program will feature any type of barrel we can get our hands on. We’ve already filled Islay Scotch Casks, bourbon and rye barrels, toasted oak, and even Port and red wine barrels. That’s just the beginning.
If you’ve had our beer, you hopefully don’t need to read this. Not to brag, but we know what we’re doing.
We’ve got a great brewing setup. We spare no expense on ingredients and are uncompromising when it comes to quality. Our brewmaster has substantial, award-winning experience in the brewing industry and is a graduate of the World Brewing Academy, where he studied in Chicago and Munich and received an International Diploma in Brewing Technology.
This program won’t be easy to pull off, but we’re up to the challenge. Oak is not a completely sanitary surface like stainless steel. The porous nature allows for yeast and bacteria to survive, which could contaminate the beer and provide unintentional souring or phenolic off flavors before we want the barrels to have those features. To combat that, we’ll be using techniques employed by wineries all over the country, including sanitizing the barrels with steam to kill any organisms and create a sanitary environment for the clean beers. In addition, all of our sour barrels and brett barrels will be isolated from the clean beer barrels. In fact, we’ll be building separate, self-contained, temperature-controlled fermentation areas as required.
THE BARREL PROGRAM
Our goals are ambitious. Almost endlessly so. Luckily, your demand tells us how big we should go.
Do we just buy a few shipping containers, equip them for climate control, and fill them with barrels? Or do we build an ambitious rickhouse? Or maybe an entire state-of-the-art facility designed to house our barrel program? We aren’t just thinking foeders and coolships (though we’re certainly thinking foeders and coolships), but also vessels of our own invention to harness the funk and get people as excited as we are about the awesomeness a program like this could accomplish.
The barrel program money isn’t going to our normal overhead. The more we get, the more barrels we buy. The number of barrels determines the number of fermentation areas. A little money and we start a modest program, something slightly more ambitious than what we’re doing already. More money and the real fun begins. An entire abandoned mine filled with delicious barrels? The sky’s the limit. The possibilities are endless.
THE BARREL SOCIETY
All society memberships are for 2017, and existing members will be given an option to become 2018 members ahead of the general public. Clean beers will be packaged in 500ml or larger bottles, and funky beers will be packaged in 750ml or larger bottles. Proxies will be permitted, including delivery to Brewmaster’s Reserve members as proxies provided they consent to receiving the beers. We will contact you by email after the close of the window to purchase memberships with details about the first release.
- The fee for this tier of membership includes one bottle from each of 12 different barrel beer releases. Depending on yield, if there are any extra bottles from each release, they will be allocated exclusively to members for purchase. We will wait for 3 months after release before offering any of these for sale on a first-come-first-serve basis in our taproom, so it’s likely these beers will never be available to the general public. On each release date, we will have a Barrel Society Member gathering at the brewery where the newest batch will make its debut. On top of that, you will receive a $60 coupon good for TBC merchandise at the brewery as well as a branded TBC Teku Glass for enjoying your barrel aged beers!
- The fee for this tier includes everything that comes with basic membership plus one bottle from each of 12 different Brett and Sour barrel beer releases. You will have the same 3-month window basic membership gets for those bottles for additional bottles of these beers.
- The fee for this tier includes everything that comes with basic and Funky Bunch membership in addition to one bottle from each of 6 different ultra-limited releases. For Arizona residents, we will even deliver all of your beer directly to your front door if you want!