When Two Galaxies Collide: Texas Beer is Aged In Texas Red Wine Barrels
New Braunfels Brewing Company – The Farmhouse Program
According to a recent news release, “Sangre de Shiva is the best expression of the soul of what New Braunfels Brewing Company stands for. Not quite a wine, not exclusively a beer, Sangre de Shiva is a strange and new flavor experience that is constantly evolving.”
When I read this, my mind went back to one of my astronomy classes (thank goodness for college electives). The professor was showing a series of slides of planets, star clusters and galaxies. The one this announcement brought to my mind was the slide he put up showing the collision of two galaxies with their tentacle-like arms entwined drawing each galaxy evermore closely together while also spewing out galactic material in random directions. In this case, it was the galaxy of Texas beer on a collision course with the galaxy of Texas wine. The only questions are: Will this lead to the formation of a black hole or will it be a spectacular supernova. It likely too soon to tell. Either way, for those that enjoy new taste sensations of wine and/or beer, this creation sounds very interesting, indeed.
Each release from New Braunfels Brewing Company is a different blend of a very wet Texas red wine barrel and our Black Weizenbock, Shiva’s Tears. Age depends on the blend, but will be roughly 9-12 months. Much like a great wine from vintage to vintage, every release expresses slight variations.Their first example, Blend1, used barrels that previously held a red-blend, Enchanté, from William Chris Vineyards in Hye, TX and Blend2 used TX Syrah barrels, also from William Chris Vineyards. The plans going forward are for Blend3 (the current release). Blend3 used Comal County Black Spanish barrels from their neighbors at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards. Others include:
- Blend4, due out in December, has been sitting in William Chris Syrah barrels.
- Blend5 is aging in Dry Comal Creek Malbec barrels.
- Blend6 is very wet Texas Sangiovese from Hilmy Cellars near Stonewall, TX.
- Blend7 will be Texas Merlot from William Chris Vineyards and will be our biggest release of Sangre ever.
- They are currently looking for the right barrels for Blend 8.
If you’re looking for more backstory, here’s how New Braunfels Brewing Company describes how their Texas beer/wine mash-ups are made:
“With Sangre de Shiva, it’s all a matter of timing. We prepare weeks in advance by brewing a batch of our weizenbock using 5 different malts, 85% wheat, in our modified decoction mash. A 2-hour boil and a primary fermentation with our house Saccharomyces yeast from Weihenstephaner, Germany create a rich, smooth beer with a clean finish.”
Then, we wait for the winery’s processing day so we can get barrels as soon as they’re dumped. We ask the winery to leave the lees and sediment in the barrel, which will add massive flavor and aroma to your glass. The barrels are quickly transported back to our little brewery in downtown New Braunfels, filled with the base beer and then…..we wait.
After 9-12 months, our house mixed culture of wild yeast and souring bacteria dry the residual sugar out and add a funky, tart character. The deep, rich tobacco and oak flavors from the wine blend and balance with the rich, caramel and chocolate notes of the beer to produce what is our brewmaster’s pride and joy. Bottle-conditioned with freshly fermenting beer, the CO2 in this beer is lower than in our others, to allow the thick wine to coat your palate and give a unique drinking experience.
As with most of our beers, we appreciate subtlety much like sobriety. If you’re not a fan of big, tannic, oak-monster red wine, there’s a real good chance this isn’t the beer for you.
In this release, only one keg for the brewery and 110 cases were produced. The official release is October 15 at the brewery’s taproom in downtown New Braunfels, which the rest of the cases going out to retail soon after.
The Facebook event is here https://www.facebook.com/events/829034517195424/