September release. NINE beers, first ever public CAN release

Last month, we announced a six bottle release. While we did release six bottles, only three made it to the public. This is because Black Project gives first rights on all beers it releases to its AGENT Program. AGENTS bought all of the PEACEMAKER Cherry, PEACEMAKER Peach & EXPERIMENTAL #2 we had to offer last month, thus leaving MACH-LIMIT Cab Franc, LESTRANGE & EXPERIMENTAL #1 for public release. 

Our AGENTS will always have the right to pre-purchase our beers online, so it’s possible this scenario could happen every month. However, since a six bottle release wasn't enough last month, we’re releasing NINE beers this month, three of which will be our first-ever CAN release to the public! 

All following beers are set to release at 2pm on Friday, September 20 in the Black Project tastingroom. Our online presale to AGENTS ends September 9, so check back after then to see if any offerings sold out to AGENTS before public release. 

Details below. 

 
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SKYHAWK 

750mL | $26
SKYHAWK is a barrel aged blend of both our solera base beers as well as our Méthode Traditionnelle base. We started by aging our sour wheat in a Jamaican Rum barrel, and our sour golden and MT base in various gin barrels. After a few months of aging, we blended all of the barrels together on top of second use raspberries from 2019 Roswell: GRUDGE and beets for a short refermentation. The result is a tart and acidic barrel forward beer bursting with raspberry jam, aggressive funk, and bold earthy notes with a dry finish.


DISAMBIGUATION 

750mL | $26
Disambiguation is our collaboration with UNSEEN CREATURES out of Miami, FL. We brewed this 100% spontaneous beer in april 2018, at the end of our normal brewing season and let the beer rest in neutral oak barrels for many months. After blending, we fruited the base beer with prickly pear and buddhas hand, and then dry hopped with warrior hops. Citrusy and bright, with notes of bubblegum, watermelon, lemon blossoms, green wood and honeysuckle, this beer is perfect for midday porch drinking.


WAR POWER 

750mL | $28
WAR POWER begins as our spontaneous base beer, following the Méthode Traditionnelle guidelines. We then blended whole montmorency and balaton cherries into the base. After a long period of aging on the cherry, we racked the beer onto a small amount of blackberry, just enough to give this beer a tart and dry finish.


CYGNUS: Blend B 

750mL | $30
CYGNUS is a blend of three years of traditional, Lambic-inspired, coolship, spontaneous ale that follows the Méthode Traditionnelle guidelines. The blended base beer was refermented with whole Montmorency and Balaton cherries. The pits were left in to add complexity. After several months of aging the beer on cherries in oak barrels, the beer was removed and stored. Then, a second running of beer was placed onto the cherries. More base beer was added to the cherries, extracting more color and a milder nuanced flavor. 


EXPERIMENTAL #3 

750mL | $24
Bourbon barrel aged Mushroom ale 


EXPERIMENTAL #4 

750mL | $24
Bourbon barrel aged Cucumber ale



The last three beers Black Project is releasing in September are years overdue. SHADOW FACTORY & MAGIC LANTERN to-go have been the most requested item in the taproom since we’ve started making them. 

We’re excited to announce Black Project CANS!


MAGIC LANTERN: Peach | Apricot | Passionfruit 

16oz cans | $18 per 4-pack
MAGIC LANTERN is a standard offering with rotating fruits. The base is 100% wheat, fermented with unisolated coolship-caught microbes. It is light and only slightly tart on its own.  MAGIC LANTERN was designed for heavy fruit additions making MAGIC acidic and bright, with gushing tropical notes. Pink Himalayan salt adds a slight, balanced salinity, and complexity.  


SHADOW FACTORY: Blackberry | Raspberry

16oz cans | $18 per 4-pack
SHADOW FACTORY is a standard offering in our taproom with rotating fruits. The base is 100% wheat, fermented with unisolated coolship-caught microbes. It is light and only slightly tart on its own. SHADOW FACTORY was designed for heavy fruit additions, and the first canned variation we’re releasing to the public is Blackberry & Raspberry. Nearly all of the sourness comes only from the fruit, so acidity will range from mid to high.

DAGGER: Peach | Blackberry | Raspberry 

16oz cans | $16 per 4-pack
DAGGER is a combination of second use fruit from our MAGIC LANTERN and SHADOW FACTORY series to further experiment with flavors from second use fruits. Highly acidic and lighter on the fruit, this beer drinks like a crispy fruit punch 

In review: 

We’re releasing nine beers starting at 2pm on Friday, September 20 in the Black Project Tastingroom. 
Six of which are bottles, while the other three are our first ever public can release. 
The availability of these beers depends on our AGENT sale, so check back after September 9 to see what will be available to the public in the tastingroom starting September 20. 

  1. SKYHAWK 750mL | $26

  2. DISAMBIGUATION 750mL | $26

  3. WAR POWER 750mL | $28

  4. CYGNUS: Blend B 750mL | $30

  5. EXPERIMENTAL #3 750mL | $24

  6. EXPERIMENTAL #4 750mL | $24

  7. CANNED MAGIC LANTERN: Peach | Apricot | Passionfruit 16oz cans | $18 per 4-pack

  8. CANNED SHADOW FACTORY: Blackberry | Raspberry 16oz cans | $18 per 4-pack

  9. CANNED DAGGER: Peach | Blackberry | Raspberry 16oz cans | $16 per 4-pack



August Bottle Release

Strap in tight Black Project fans! We’re releasing SIX (maybe more?) beers this month and we don't want you to miss out on any of them!

We are now boarding LESTRANGE, MACH-LIMIT Cab Franc, PEACEMAKER Peach, PEACEMAKER Cherry,  EXPERIMENTAL #1 & EXPERIMENTAL #2. All six beers lift off at 1400 on Friday, August 23rd in the Black Project tasting room. Details below.  


LESTRANGE: 375mL | $16

This collaboration with Finn’s Manor, one of our favorite beer bars in Denver, is a tribute to many things; friendship, honor, tradition, and loyalty to one of the Great Wizardry houses of our time. Funky and dry with a mildly tart finish, Lestrange is lightly carbonated as an homage to classic, unblended lambic beer, but with a deeper complexity from the extra time it spent in barrels.  


MACH-LIMIT Cab Franc: 750mL | $33

MACH-LIMIT starts with wine grapes from locally-sourced, family-owned vineyards in Palisade, CO. Once the grapes have been destemmed and crushed, we allow the juice to rest for a few days - developing rich color and depth of flavor - before finally transferring the juice to neutral oak barrels along with our base Sour Golden ale. The beer then goes through a secondary fermentation while resting on the grapes, and after a few weeks is ready to bottle. MACH-LIMIT is fruited at an extreme limit, thereby creating a beer that is truly something of a hybrid with intense grape character. 

PEACEMAKER Peach (SOLD OUT)

PEACEMAKER is a blend of both of our solera base beers that we then aged in cherry wine and peach wine bourbon barrels. This beer is the culmination of years of spontaneous fermentation, barrel aging, and a unique partnership with Red Fox Cellars. Light notes of fruit from the barrels’ previous inhabitants give way to intense oak tannins and vanillin. This beer will continue and develop with age so drink fresh or save for later.
Please note: Since AGENTS have first right to purchase ALL beers Black Project releases, PEACEMAKER sold out before public sales started. 

PEACEMAKER Cherry (SOLD OUT)

PEACEMAKER is a blend of both of our solera base beers that we then aged in cherry wine and peach wine bourbon barrels. This beer is the culmination of years of spontaneous fermentation, barrel aging, and a unique partnership with Red Fox Cellars. Light notes of fruit from the barrels’ previous inhabitants give way to intense oak tannins and vanillin. This beer will continue and develop with age so drink fresh or save for later.
Please note: Since AGENTS have first right to purchase ALL beers Black Project releases, PEACEMAKER sold out before public sales started. 


Finally, it is with great excitement that we are launching a line of small-batch sour beers. Dubbed the EXPERIMENTAL series, think of these less like science experiments and more like small-production, high performance experimental aircraft. We wanted more beers that were exclusive and small batch. So, enter the EXPERIMENTAL series, a playground for James and the rest of the production staff, where we can make small amounts of great beers without the constraints of minimum batch sizes, ingredient costs, or sourcing limitations. These beers will be first made available to AGENTS and may frequently sell out, depending on how small batches are. Regardless, these beers will NEVER see wholesale distribution. 

EXPERIMENTAL #1: 750mL | $22

Gose with hickory smoked salt and rosemary 
EXP. #1 is insanely creamy and soft with subtle amounts of rosemary and a ton of coriander. Lightly smoked salt brightens the beer and leaves the pallet craving more.

EXPERIMENTAL #2 (SOLD OUT)

Sour golden with Cab Franc wine grapes and vanilla 
Gobs of vanilla and a touch of Cab Franc went into EXP. #2. Sweet and tannic, a mild acidity carries this beer nicely while subtle notes of peach and hay meld with vanilla and spice. 
Please note: Since AGENTS have first right to purchase ALL beers Black Project releases, EXPERIMENTAL #2 sold out before public sales started. 


All above beers are releasing in the Black Project tasting room starting at 1400 on Friday, August 23rd. These are the only aircrafts set for immediate takeoff, but standby for information regarding different aluminum vessels that we’ll have in the air shortly..

In review:

The three beers available to the public starting at 2pm on August 23rd in the Black Project tasting room are: 

  • LESTRANGE - 375 mL | $16

  • MACH-LIMIT: Cab Franc - 750 mL | $33

  • EXPERIMENTAL #1 - 750 mL | $22

 
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2019/2020 AGENT Program

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It’s time to start talking about our membership club, also known as our AGENT program! The AGENT program curates an exclusive membership program within Black Project that will facilitate an intimate customer-to-brewery relationship. AGENTS get to know each other through common interests and different AGENT-only events - such as private bottle shares at the brewery and other celebrations throughout the year.

Cost is $100
Registration begins July 1st & ends July 14
Lottery winners will be notified via email on July 15
Winners will have until July 22 to pay the $100 fee, which will officially enroll them in the program

The program will run from August 2019-August 2020. 

Here’s what’s included:

  • Three different 750mL bottles exclusively for Agents

    • Bottles will be available and announced at various times throughout the year and you will have 30 days for you or a proxy to pick them up, unless you purchase the cellar add on. (more details on cellar add on below)

    • Since these bottles only get released to our AGENTS, they are made in small batches and subsequently considered to be the “rarest” beers we will release throughout the year

    • These bottles will be free for all agents who enroll in our program. They will vary, based on which DIVISION you choose when you enroll  for the program.

  • 10% off draft beer and merchandise in taproom

    • Valid ONLY when you present your 2019-2020 Agent Coin. (more details on the AGENT coin below)

  • 10% off all merchandise from our online store

  • Agent-only Challenge/Membership Coin

    • Every year we create a challenge coin for Agents. This is allows you to challenge other Agents that you see anywhere in the world. If you lay down your coin and they don't have theirs, they have to buy you a drink. If you lay down your coin and they DO have theirs, YOU have to buy THEM a drink.

    • More importantly, your challenge coin is the ONLY WAY you can access your discounts or other various perks throughout the year in the taproom. Please do not expect bartenders to remember/recognize that you are an Agent - they have been instructed to only give the 10% draft/merch. discount if you present your coin from the current membership year.

  • Advanced Online Bottle / Can Presale (first come, first served) before public access with 30 day pickup window at the brewery

    • Every time a new Black Project bottle is ready to be released, Agents will have first-come, first-served access to buy it online.

    • Starting now, this will now be the only way to pre-purchase our beer online

    • Limits will be TBD based on the size of the batch and the typical purchase volume throughout the year.

    • Note that some batches will yield fewer bottles/allocations than the number of Agents. We don't anticipate this happening frequently, however: ***All release allocations will be first come, first served***

    • UNLESS YOU HAVE PURCHASED THE CELLAR ADD-ON, ALL BOTTLES MUST BE PICKED UP FROM THE BP TAPROOM WITHIN THE 30 DAY WINDOW GIVEN FOR EACH RELEASE.

  • Access to purchase and blend your own Black Project "CIA" Barrel

    • CIA - Creatively Involved Agents - new program for 2019-2020

    • You and a group of your choosing can blend and create your own barrel of BP beer.

    • When the beer is done you and your group will get all of the bottles that came from the barrel you created.

    • Contact point/purchaser must be an Agent, but you can include as many others as you would like in your group

    • You decide the blend, fruits, barrel treatment, beer name, etc.

    • Additional details TBA. Limited number of slots available.

  • Access to the 2019/2020 AGENT-only Facebook page

    • This is a great place for AGENTS to interact with one another, stay in the know with Black Project, and for AGENTS to find proxies if needed.

  • Access to monthly Agent-Only bottle shares (limited seating)

    • Agent bottles shares take place in the tap room on Monday evenings.

    • We will announce the date in advance and take RSVPs on a first-come, first served basis. Our taproom is not big enough to accommodate every Agent.

    • These bottle shares are STRICTLY AGENT-ONLY. No +1's. Every person in attendance MUST have their Agent Coin for the current year.

  • Year-End party for you and your guest.

    • We will host a big party in Denver for the Agents (and their +1's) in July 2020. Tickets are free but you must claim a ticket for you / your +1 in advance. Exact date and location TBD (based on expected attendance)

  • First access to other Black Project events (for example: dinners, camping trip, etc.)

    • Ticketed events that we host will be offered first to Agents.

  • Access to exclusive group-buy Agent merch

    • Throughout the year we will offer some custom-designed merchandise as group-buys / pre-orders.

    • These items will be Agent-Only but we must hit a (varying) minimum order quantity by a set date or we will refund all orders and the item will not be sold

  • First right of refusal on next year’s program

    • There will be a renewal window for the 2020/2021 AGENT program and this is your opportunity to either renew for the upcoming program or deny the right to renew.

  • Referral option for next year's program

    • You will have the ability to suggest someone to join the program. They will get the ability to join on a first come, first served basis with other referrals before any slots are made available to the public.

In review:
Lottery entry: July 1-14
Winners notified: July 15
Payment Window: July 15-22
Program runs: August 1, 2019- August 1, 2020


If you have any additional questions, please contact Melissa Jones, our AGENT Director at agents@blackprojectbeer.com




June Bottle Release, New Public Release Format

Bear with us, Black Project fans! We have two exciting updates, so we apologize in advance for this lengthy blog post.

We will start with the announcement of our new public bottle sale format, followed by the details of our June bottle release.

New Public Sale Format

Starting in June 2019, we will no longer have online presales for any of our public bottle releases. Instead, we will simply release any and all public bottles starting on a pre-announced Friday in the taproom, during regular business hours. These bottles will be available on a first come, first served basis, and they will be available until supplies run out. Our fans will still have the opportunity to order bottles online. However, they will need to join our AGENT program in order to do so. (More details on the AGENT program will come soon)

June Bottle Release

The second thing we have to talk about is the two bottles we’re releasing in June, (1) LUNEX & (2) SUPERCRUISE: Temp | Cab Franc


LUNEX

LUNEX is one of our beers brewed within the standards of Methode Traditionnelle - 3 Year. It is a blend of 3-year spontaneously fermented beer with Bourbon barrel aged coffee beans from Corvus Coffee, added post-fermentation. We like to say it smells like all the delicious parts of coffee but without all the harsher flavors.

750mL

$26


SUPERCRUISE: Temp | Cab Franc

SUPERCRUISE starts with wine grapes from locally-sourced, family-owned vineyards in Palisade, CO. Once the grapes have been destemmed and crushed, we allow the juice to rest for a few days - developing rich color and depth of flavor - before finally transferring the juice to neutral oak barrels along with our base Golden Sour. The beer then goes through a secondary fermentation while resting on the grapes, and after a few weeks is ready to bottle. Fruited at about half of what we do for Mach-Limit, the stonefruit character from the base beer is backed by bright fruit and soft tannins, yet the beer still shines through.

750mL

$28

Both bottles will be available in the taproom, starting at 2pm on Friday, June 21.

If you have any questions regarding anything else, please reach out to Dylan Hochstedler at topsecret@blackprojectbeer.com

 
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May 2019's Release - DORIAN, BYEMAN

 
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James here to tell you about the two exciting new beers we are releasing this month! This release will consist of DORIAN and BYEMAN - two natural-wine inspired wine-beer hybrids.

BYEMAN is a beer that we teased a few months back on social media, it is a blend of skin-contact Muscat grape juice (processed as if we were making an orange wine) and 100% spontaneous, Méthode Traditionnelle, lambic-inspired beer. The result is floral, funky, and fruity. It has a bit of tannin expression from the skin maceration and wild yeast and acidity from the beer.

DORIAN is a wild Rosé-beer hybrid. The beer is similar to BYEMAN in appearance and character but trades the tannic dryness from extended skin contact with a delicious tart fruit character that borders on tropical. There are notes of the grapes but there is some much fermentation-derived peach, pear, pineapple, and berry that it is difficult to know where the “wine” ends and the beer begins in this hybrid.

In homage to many classic natural wines that inspired the creation and flavors behind these beers, we elected to package them in clear glass bottles - a first for us. This shows off the colors of the especially unique creations.

These are being released now, in early spring, for a reason - they are both absolutely killer beers for warmer weather, porch drinking, and they will pair excellently with lighter springtime meals.

We normally say that our beer should be poured carefully, leaving the bottle-conditioning sediment in the bottle to be later discarded. However, as with one of my favorite styles of wine, traditional Prosecco Col Fondo, these beers can be poured without sediment as normal or it can be gently stirred back up in to the bottle before pouring. This gives an additional layer of complexity, funk, and subtlety - give it a try!

DON’T MISS OUT BLACK PROJECT LIMITED-EDITION RELEASES. JOIN THE MAILING LIST.

RELEASE SCHEDULE

Agent Sale

PURCHASE WINDOW

-BEGINS 5/8 at Noon MST-

-ENDS 5/16 at Noon MST-

PICKUP WINDOW

-BEGINS 5/22-

-ENDS 6/12-

Public Sale

PURCHASE WINDOW

-BEGINS 5/17 at Noon MST-

-ENDS 5/20 at 10:00PM MST-

PICKUP WINDOW

-BEGINS 5/22-

-ENDS 5/26-

February's Release

February is an exciting month for us as we are seeing the return of a crowd favorite beer, as well as a few, never before done at Black Project, experimental beers.

  • IVY BELLS MK2: Solera-fermented spontaneous ale with fruit. 750mL - $28

  • IVY BELLS MK3: Solera-fermented spontaneous ale with fruit. 750mL - $28

  • SUNBEAM: Noyaux-inspired beer with stone fruit pits. 375mL - $18

  • HABU: Kriek inspired ale aged in whiskey barrels with vanilla bean and cocoa nibs. 500mL - $28



All listed prices include 8% sales tax and applicable fees from the online purchase system. Bottle limits are TBA on the day of the public sale.


IVY BELLS

First off, we have the return of IVY BELLS, our fruit punch sour beer. IVY BELLS is a custom blend of solera-fermented spontaneous ales. We then refermented with pineapple, pink guava, blood orange, raspberry, passion fruit, sweet cherry and tart cherry in a golden base beer blend.

This time around, we decided to make two different variations of IVY BELLS. Instead of having one beer completely loaded with fruits ranging from deep bramble berries to bright citrus, we made two iterations, using various levels of each fruit in the same base beer:

  • MK2 is a berry forward, jammy and tart, comprising mostly of raspberry and cherry.

  • MK3 is bright, citrusy, and slightly bitter, with pink guava and blood orange being the dominant flavors.

IVY BELLS is an expression of what multiple fruits can do together, instead of highlighting what each individual fruit has to offer.


SUNBEAM

Next up is SUNBEAM, our Noyaux-inspired beer. Noyaux is an almond flavored liqueur made with stone fruit pits that is cooked into a brandy. We created our version by taking the fresh stone fruit pits from our STARGATE series and racking our sour golden base onto them in a barrel to rest for months. The resulting beer is slightly tart, chocolate and almond forward, with a dry citrus finish. Noyaux beers are not an often done style and we are excited to see the results of this experiment.


HABU

HABU is a blend of three-year traditional, Lambic-inspired, coolship spontaneous ale that follows the Méthode Traditionnelle guidelines. The blended base beer was refermented with two different kinds of whole tart cherries. We used Montmorency and Balaton cherries and included the pits in freshly dumped Law’s Whiskey barrels.

After a few months in the Law’s barrels, HABU was moved into new Heaven Hill barrels and vanilla bean and cocoa nibs were added to the beer. The double barrelling process allows the oak vanillin and bourbon character to shine alongside the cherry, chocolate, and vanilla harmoniously. The resulting beer is complex and fruity with a strong bourbon back bone and nuanced vanilla and chocolate characters.

HABU is a new series of beer that we have been anticipating for months now. By taking our 3-year spontaneous blended ale and refermenting it on cherries for many months in both stainless and oak to create CYGNUS, our Kriek inspired ale, we racked the finished beer into Law’s Whiskey barrels, and then added cacao nibs and madagascar bourbon vanilla to rest.

In Summary:

  • Sale begins: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 @ Noon, MST

  • Sale ends: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 @ 10pm, MST

  • First come, first served. Limits TBA. Proxies ARE allowed.

  • Pickup begins: Friday, February 22, 2019 @ 2pm, MST

  • Pickup ends: Sunday, February 24, 2019 @ 8pm, MST

  • Pickup ONLY in the taproom, during regular business hours.



Once the purchase window opens at Noon MST on February 19th, purchases can be made below

 
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STARGATE Bottle Set Release - January 22nd

Black Project is excited to announce the release of this year's version of one of our longest-running and most sought-after series of beers: STARGATE.

STARGATE is made by fermenting local whole stone fruit in various fresh spirit barrels. The idea is to create a beer that is in perfect harmony between the spontaneous-solera base beer, the unique fruit varietals, and the character of the specially-selected spirit barrels.

STARGATE was first released under a different name: Peach-Rye DREAMLAND. The beer was such a hit with fans that the next year we committed to giving the beer its own name and using whole Colorado fruit.

From the first bottles produced, the STARGATE releases have continuously been some our highest-rated and most sought-after beers.

Every year we have been expanding our number of offerings as we find great fruit and awesome spirit barrels that will complement each other. The STARGATE series is a beer that we have always had a hard time making enough to satisfy the intense demand for the bottles. This year, the harvest was good in Palisade so we elected to make several different variants. For logistical reasons, the beer will be sold mostly as sets of four bottles.

Summary of this year's variants:

-Glo Haven Peach (Palisade, CO) in “Four Flowers” Bourbon Whiskey Barrels (KY)

-Red Haven Peach (Palisade, CO) in A.D. Law's Bourbon Whiskey Barrels (CO)

-O'Henry Peach (Palisade, CO)  in “Tall Western” Bourbon Whiskey Barrels (UT)

-Nectarine (Palisade, CO) in “Four Flowers” Bourbon Whiskey Barrels (KY)

These variants showcase the variety of stone fruit we source each year, directly from the Western Slope of Colorado. Thousands of pounds of fruit were brought in and processed by hand after waiting for peak ripeness. A majority of the pits are left with the fruit during fermentation.This adds an additional layer of complexity and depth of flavor that plays perfectly with the tart fruit, as well as vanillin and whiskey notes from the barrels.

Fruit fermentation actually takes place within the specially selected spirit barrel. This is a special technique that allows for additional subtleties to be extracted from the barrel. It creates a better overall balance to the beer than the more typical method of fermenting/refermenting in a different vessel and then “aging” in the spirit barrel post-fermentation.


STARGATE bottle sets will be available for online pre-sale starting at noon on January 22nd. There will be a limited amount of single variant bottles also available, as well as a specially curated list of vintage bottles - available in limited amounts. Bottle Pick-Ups will be January 25, 26, & 27. Proxies are allowed.

STARGATE sets are $80 for four, 500mL bottles. Capped and corked. Individual bottles, if available, are $21 each. All prices include sales tax and processing fees.

Pre-Sale will be live at 12 noon (MST) on January 22nd, 2019.

December Bottle Release / New Release Format

December Bottle Release

We are pleased to announce that we are switching to a new bottle release format starting with this month’s release.

Here are the details right off the bat, followed an explanation of the new release format and the reasoning behind the switch.

Online Pre-Sale begins on Wednesday, December 19th at Noon (MST) and runs until Thursday, December 20th at 11PM (MST). However, everything is first come, first served so I would recommend signing on as close to the start as possible.

We will be releasing four different bottles this month (along with a small amount of vintage beer TBD):
-STARGATE² - Double-fruited variant of the spirit barrel aged STARGATE series - 750mL - $36
-EJECTOR: Simcoe/Enigma - 750mL - $24
-EJECTOR: CTZ/Centennial - 750mL - $24
-JETTISON: Tempranillo/Malbec/Raspberry - 750mL - $26

All listed prices include 8% sales tax and applicable fees from the online purchase system. Bottle limits are TBA on the sale of the sale.

Since this month is crazy for everyone, we’ve decided to extend the bottle pick-up window. Instead of one weekend, the bottles can be picked up in the tasting room starting Friday, December 21 at 2PM, and the window will extend for two weekends and the short Christmas week, until December 30th at 8PM. Please note that we are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

In summary:
-Sale Begins: Wed 12-19-18 @ Noon
-Sale Ends: Thurs 12-20-18 @ 11pm
-4 New Release Bottles (see above) + some limited back-catalog surprises
-First Come, First Served; Limits TBA; Proxies ARE Allowed
-Pick-up Begins: Fri 12-21-18 @ 2pm
-Pick-up Ends: Sun 12-30-18 @ 8pm
-Pick-up in only during tasting room hours. We will be closed on the 24th and 25th


Thoughts on a New Bottle Release Format
A little over one year ago we moved our retail bottle sales to primarily an online lottery format. While I think the system has worked relatively well, I’ve decided that for a number of reasons, it is time to once again revisit the best way to get our bottles into the hands of the public. Our goal has always been to be able to allow as many fans as possible to acquire our bottles, no matter where they live, while also respecting our local / tasting room supporters, and finally - respecting everyone’s time.

The feedback we have received over the last 12 months is that perhaps the online lottery system is not necessarily the best value for our customers’ investment of effort. I think that as we have taken a step back and looked at the process it adds an unnecessary amount of confusion, tracking of dates, and overall time taken from the customer in order to get (possibly) a single bottle of beer. For quite some time we have been ruminating on how best to make the bottle purchase system easier and less confusing. The first effort we made towards making the process easier has been enlisting the help of Craftpeak to put a voucher and customer management system in place. This has been a huge help, but the underlying issues of a lottery format (enter, wait, selection, purchase, wait, pick-up) are inherent to the system.

So today I am excited to announce the end of the lottery system and the beginning of direct, online, bottle pre-sales. Craftpeak is geared towards this type of system, has assured us they can handle any server demands, and runs the back-end of these types of releases for many great breweries around the United States.

The monthly bottle release will be when new bottles are first made available to the public. This is a direct replacement for the lottery - instead of entering, waiting, winning, and then purchasing, customers will simply log on when the sale opens and purchase. However, unlike the outgoing lottery system, we will also often have additional bottles available on a limited, first come, first served basis. These would be bottles that might be available as an add-on on pick-up day, but are not large enough for a full-blown lottery. We may also pull a few cases of beer from our back-catalog cellar and put those online as well, first come, first served.  

The online voucher format means that a customer, for their efforts, may be able to purchase more than one bottle (either of the main release or by adding additional bottles from a limited batch). We’ve heard time and again that the effort from the lottery and pick-up (especially with a proxy) was simply not worth it for one bottle of beer, and I do think that is a valid criticism. Inevitably some folks will not be able to get online and purchase the bottles before some/all of them sell out - but my view is that if that happens, at least you know vs a lottery where many entrants do not win, but still have to keep the purchase and pick-up “on their radar” for nearly a week until they find out if they won or not.

As with the lottery, ANY vouchers purchased will have to be exchanged for the bottle during a designated pick-up weekend (by either the customer or their proxy).

No system is going to be perfect and there are definite pros and cons to this new system, but after a year of lotteries and thinking about the issues that have arisen from them, I think this new format will be the best way forward.

Sincerely,
James Howat

PS: One thing we often hear is that folks want us to “take care of locals.” We definitely agree - we love our Colorado fans! This is why, in addition to the online release system we also have bottles for sale, to go, every single day in the tasting room! We spent nearly a year holding back beer from releases so that we could make this happen, and I’m ecstatic to say that now anyone who comes to our tasting room can take a bottle of Black Project with them when they leave. Additionally, we are very proud of the fact that we typically average ~70% of entries from Colorado residents in our online releases, and I don’t see any reason why the new format would change that.

LANCER - Spontaneous Ale with Wildflower Honey

Image from iOS.jpg

Black Project is proud to announce the return of a beer from our early days, a fan favorite, and a beer that we’ve had constant requests to recreate: LANCER.

Last released way back in February 2016, LANCER is a sour blonde ale made with Colorado wildflower honey. The beer is a product of the combination of microbes captured via our coolship and those found naturally in the honey. We believe that our use of high quality honey and a long, slow, mild fermentation by wild microbes protects and amplifies the delicate wildflower aroma.

This is a beer that is surprisingly difficult to successfully make. The truth is, we planned, brewed, and blended a batch for 2017 but ultimately decided that it wasn’t up to our standards. There is a fine line that we must walk between using enough honey for the end result we want and over-stressing our fragile wild yeast. The first time we made this beer, it took several months longer to be fully ready in the barrel than I had thought. Then the beer also proceeded to take it’s time with refermentation in the bottle- if I recall it took about 3-4 times longer to be fully carbonated and ready to sell than most of our other beers.

2017 LANCER was never bottled. It was dumped nearing the end of the honey fermentation in the barrel. We immediately worked to re-blend, acquire more honey, and make a new batch with some lessons learned from the beer we dumped.

This year’s version is now finally ready, in bottles, for our November lottery. In this batch, the secondary fermentation of the honey proceeded beautifully, slowly, and cleanly - leaving a tremendous amount of wildflower aroma. These floral notes mingle with the funky barnyard and stone fruit of the base beer. Bottle conditioning took several times longer than normal, again! We are finding that our mantra of letting time be our most important ingredient definitely holds true when combining our cultures with large amounts of honey.

2018 LANCER is the best batch yet, and we are all really proud to offer it again to the public. This beer will be released in our usual format, a majority of bottles available to the public will be sold via online lottery, and a small percentage will be held back to be sold over time in the tasting room (for on-site and to-go) from our bottle cooler.

Bottles are corked and capped, 500mL, and cost $18 each including sales tax and all fees.  

Lottery entry window will run from Monday, November 19, at 12 noon (MST)  through Thursday, November 22 at Midnight (MST).
Bottle Pickup window will be November 30 - December 2nd, during tasting room hours.

Once the window opens, entries can be made here: www.blackprojectbeer.com/lancerlottery

Bottle Release: OXCART Blend A

I'm proud to announce the release of the 2018 version of OXCART. This is one of the most special beers that we make at Black Project. It is a blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old traditionally-produced spontaneous ale. OXCART exceeds the requirements to qualify for the Methode Traditionnelle III crest. This means that although it is produced outside of Belgium and thus should not be called "gueuze" or "lambic" it is made using the same traditional processes and ingredients.

Production of OXCART starts with a turbid mash of 50-60% Pilsner malt and 40-50% unmalted wheat. The percentages differ as we actually make 3 different recipes with slight differences in grist, mash schedule, and hopping rates. The idea behind this is to create some slight differences for diversity in blending stock, years down the line.

In any case, after the turbid mash creates a very dextrinous, starchy wort, it is boiled for 3-4 hours with a large amount of aged whole leaf hops. The hops we currently use are 2013 Brammling Cross hops from the UK that have been aged at ambient temperature since harvest and in our own barrel cellar for the past two years. We bought these hops in bulk to last multiple years, but we are also currently aging a large amount of Colorado-grown leaf hops - which will start to be blended in over the coming years.

Following the boil, the wort is cooled in our ~360gal copper coolship, located under a large window in our barrel cellar. As the wort cools overnight (we only brew from late fall to early spring, so the outside night air is quite cool), yeast and other wild microbes innoculate it with many different types of microbes that will be involved in fermenting and aging the beer over the coming years.

In the morning, the wort is pumped into steam-sanitized barrels (we want to encourage the microbes to come "spontaneously" from the air, not from previous batches in the barrel). After a few days, the wort begins to actively ferment. It develops alcohol and the pH begins to drop, setting the young beer up the full transformation that will happen over the next 8 to 36+ months.

The next and most important part of the creation of OXCART is blending. I taste through barrels in the cellar and come up with a blend that meets the requirements for age, but as important is the overall flavor - my goal is to blend a beer which tastes interesting, appealing, and characteristically "Black Project."

This year, two blends were made, OXCART A and OXCART B. The two beers share a common core, but do have some differences in an attempt to showcase a bit of the range that can be made just by selecting different barrels. These two blends were both bottled in the early days of 2018 and now the "A" variant is ready to be made available to the public. It will be released in a lottery format - entries for it start today - and there will also be some limited availability throughout the year as on-site bottles in the taproom. The bottles are 375mL, corked and capped, and cost $22. Stay tuned info and comparisons with the second blend, which we have scheduled to be released in October.

Thanks for your support,

James Howat

 

Bottle Release: MACH-LIMIT

April 23, 2018

Hello Black Project Fans,
We are delighted to be releasing this year's MACH-LIMIT in the coming weeks. This release will follow a lottery format. Please bear with us as we are in the process of working with an outside company to develop a MUCH SMOOTHER system for these lottery releases. It isn't quite ready so for this release we will have to stick with a similar system to what we have used for past releases. You can find the link to the lottery entry form at the bottom of this post. Here's some information about the beer:

MACH-LIMIT starts with wine grapes from locally-sourced, family-owned vineyards in Palisade, CO. Once the grapes have been destemmed and crushed, we allow the juice to rest for a few days - developing rich color and depth of flavor - before finally transferring the juice to neutral oak barrels along with beer from our spontaneous solera vessels. The beer then goes through a secondary fermentation with the grape juice, followed by additional aging in barrels. MACH-LIMIT is fruited at the highest limit allowed, thereby creating a beer that is truly something of a hybrid with intense grape character - almost sangria-like. To highlight the extreme wine-like character of this beer, it is bottled with only a very minimal amount of carbonation. This beer should age well with proper cellaring, however the grape character may diminish over time.

Variant 1: Petit Verdot x Cabernet Sauvignon

500mL bottles, cork and cap, $25

Variant 2: Malbec x Merlot

500mL bottles, cork and cap, $25

LOTTERY WINNERS WILL HAVE ONE VARIANT RANDOMLY SELECTED DURING THE LOTTERY PROCESS. YOU WILL NOT HAVE A CHOICE OVER WHICH VARIANT YOU WILL RECEIVE A VOUCHER TO PICK-UP. THEY ARE BOTH EQUALLY DELICIOUS! 

LOTTERY WINDOW: Monday 4/23 @ 12PM - Friday 4/27 @ 9AM
LOTTERY WINNER SELECTION: Friday 4/27 @ 12PM
PAYMENT WINDOW: Friday 4/27 @ 12PM - Monday 4/30 @ 12PM
PICKUP WINDOW: Friday 5/4 @ 2PM - Sunday 5/6 @ 8PM⠀

Please click the button below to go to the lottery entry form. Before entering, please read the entry form page very carefully and note the terms and conditions, which you must agree to before entering. 

ATLAS & THOR

ATLAS & THOR start with a sour red ale base, fermented for many months in one of our spontaneous solera vessels. These large aging tanks were originally filled using 50 gallons of coolship spontaneous beer and then more wort was added over a period of time until the vessel was full. Over the last three years, a small portion of the finished beer has been removed for packaging, which was then replaced with fresh wort, allowing the beer to mature. No cultured microbes have been added during the entire process.
 
This year we decided to experiment for the first time with a high-quality fruit product that is made by removing water from pure fruit juice, allowing us to create a beer with an extreme amount of fruit character that can be infinitely blended and fine-tuned.
 
ATLAS & THOR both received heavy amounts of pure fruit. These sister beers are made using the same base beer and fruits, but with different amounts of the black currant and plum. ATLAS is 75% black currant and 25% plum and THOR is 75% plum and 25% black currant. The bottles are only available as a set and are meant to be opened and enjoyed together.

ATLAS & THOR
$28/set of two bottles
375mL, cork and cap

ENTRY WINDOW

MONDAY | 03.19.2018 | 12 PM MST
THURSDAY | 03.22.2018 | 10 PM MST

  • Online lottery entry window opens for four days.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • You MUST use the name (verbatim) that is found on your valid, state-issued ID.
  • If your name is "Robert" on your ID, but you go by "Bob", please fill out the entry using "Robert".

Do not enter the lottery if you cannot pay for the voucher during the payment window.

Do not enter the lottery if you (or your proxy) cannot pick up bottles during pick up window.


WINNERS ANNOUNCED

MONDAY | 03.26.2018 | 10 AM MST

  • Lottery winners will be selected and notified via email.
  • Subject line will be: LOTTERY WINNER - ATLAS & THOR
  • Please check your junk email, promotions folder for Gmail, and Focused folder for Outlook.

If you are not selected for the lottery, you will not receive an email.


PAYMENT WINDOW

MONDAY | 03.26.2018 | 10 AM MST
THURSDAY | 03.29.2018 | 10 PM MST

  • Lottery winners will have four days to pay for vouchers.
  • Winners will pay for one voucher online that may be exchanged for one bottle.

Payment information must match the winner's entry information.


BOTTLE PICKUP

FRIDAY | 03.30.2018 | 2-11 PM MST
SATURDAY | 03.31.2018 | 2-11 PM MST
SUNDAY | 04.01.2018 | 2-8 PM MST

  • Must be 21+ with valid ID (for yourself) to purchase.
  • A copy of ID is required for pickup and MUST match the entry and online purchase information.
  • You may only pick up during tasting room business hours, listed above.
  • Must provide your selection email AND a state issued ID (or copy of it).
  • Name on selection email and name on ID must match.
  • Proxies are allowed, but MUST have valid selection email AND a copy of winner’s ID AND a valid 21+ ID for themselves.
  • Electronic versions (e.g., on your phone) are acceptable.

We will not be able to make exceptions to these rules for any reason.


Too Long, Didn't Read:

ENTRY WINDOW
    MONDAY | 03.19.2018 | 12 PM MST
    THURSDAY | 03.22.2018 | 10 PM MST

  • Fill out the form with your full name that matches your ID
  • Don't enter the lottery if you can't pay or pick up on time

WINNERS ANNOUNCED
     MONDAY | 03.26.2018 | 10 AM MST

  • Winners will get an email, everyone else won't
  • Subject line: LOTTERY WINNER - ATLAS & THOR

PAYMENT WINDOW
    MONDAY | 03.26.2018 | 10 AM MST
    THURSDAY | 03.29.2018 | 10 PM MST

  • Payment information must match entry information

BOTTLE PICKUP
    FRIDAY | 03.30.2018 | 2-11 PM MST
    SATURDAY | 03.31.2018 | 2-11 PM MST
    SUNDAY | 04.01.2018 | 2-8 PM MST

  • Must be 21+ to pick up
  • Please bring your ID
  • Please bring your winning email 
  • Please bring proxy ID
  • Please bring proxy winning email
Photo Credit:  Justin Shimkus

Photo Credit: Justin Shimkus

CYGNUS: Cherry (Blend A)

CYGNUS is a blend of three years of traditional, Lambic-inspired, coolship spontaneous ale, that follows the Méthode Traditionnelle guidelines. The blended base beer was refermented with two different kinds of whole tart cherries, Montmorency and Balaton, including the cherry pits which adds to the classic complexity and flavor associated with Kriek.

After several months of aging the beer on cherries in oak barrels, the beer was removed and stored. Then more base beer was added to the cherries, extracting more color and a milder nuanced flavor. The first-use and second-use beers were then blended together to age further.

Finally, the strong cherry beer was blended down to final fruit level for bottling with hand-selected 1-year, 2-year, and three-year beer from barrels. Two blends were created, each with their own unique character and final fruit level, due to this blending process.

CYGNUS

CYGNUS: Cherry (Blend A)
$25/bottle - 375mL bottle, cork and cap


ENTRY WINDOW
Monday 02.26.2018 | 10 AM MST  -  THURSDAY 03.01.2018 | 10 PM MST

  • Online lottery entry window opens on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 10AM MST.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • You MUST use the name (verbatim) that is found on your valid, state-issued ID.
  • If your name is "Robert" on your ID, but you go by "Bob", please fill out the entry using "Robert".

Do not enter the lottery if you cannot pay for the voucher during the payment window.
Do not enter the lottery if you (or your proxy) cannot go to Black Project during the pickup window.


WINNERS ANNOUNCED
03.05.2018 | 10 AM MONDAY

  • Lottery winners will be selected and notified via email.
  • Subject line will be: LOTTERY WINNER - CYGNUS
  • Please check your junk email, promotions folder for Gmail, and Focused folder for Outlook.

If you are not selected for the lottery, you will not receive an email.


PAYMENT WINDOW
03.05.2018 | MONDAY 10 AM - 03.08.2018 | THURSDAY 10 PM

  • Lottery winners will have four days to pay for vouchers.
  • Winners will pay for one voucher online that may be exchanged for one bottle.

Payment information must match the winner's entry information.


BOTTLE PICKUP
03.09.2018 | FRIDAY 2-11 PM
03.10.2018 | SATURDAY 2-11 PM
03.11.2018 | SUNDAY 2-8 PM

  • Must be 21+ with valid ID (for yourself) to purchase.
  • A copy of ID is required for pickup and MUST match the entry and online purchase information.
  • You may only pick up during tasting room business hours, listed above.
  • Must provide your selection email AND a state issued ID (or copy of it).
  • Name on selection email and name on ID must match.
  • Proxies are allowed, but MUST have valid selection email AND a copy of winner’s ID AND a valid 21+ ID for themselves.
  • Electronic versions (e.g., on your phone) are acceptable.

We will not be able to make exceptions to these rules for any reason.


Too Long, Didn't Read:

ENTRY WINDOW
Monday 02.26.2018 | 10 AM MST  -  THURSDAY 03.01.2018 | 10 PM MST

  • Fill out the form with your full name that matches your ID
  • Don't enter the lottery if you can't pay or pick up on time

WINNERS ANNOUNCED
03.05.2018 | 10 AM MONDAY

  • Winners will get an email, everyone else won't
  • Subject line: LOTTERY WINNER - CYGNUS

PAYMENT WINDOW
03.05.2018 | MONDAY 10 AM - 03.08.2018 | THURSDAY 10 PM

  • Payment information must match entry information

BOTTLE PICKUP
03.09.2018 | FRIDAY 2-11 PM
03.10.2018 | SATURDAY 2-11 PM
03.11.2018 | SUNDAY 2-8 PM

  • Must be 21+ to pick up
  • Please bring your ID
  • Please bring your winning email 
  • Please bring proxy ID
  • Please bring proxy winning email
CYGNUS

Carbonation and Cellaring

Since our new lottery format has allowed more people to buy their first Black Project bottles, we wanted to make sure that everyone is aware of the fact that all our bottles are all bottle conditioned and highly carbonated.

What this means is that before opening any of our beer, it is very important that the beer is chilled in a refrigerator for the 24 hours immediately prior to serving. These beers are highly carbonated, in line with carbonation levels of traditional Lambic from Belgium, and the bottles we use are very high quality and thus are very thick and insulative. So it is very important that all bottles are properly chilled for 24 hours before you open the bottle. If not, some gushing and beer loss may occur. We don't want that.

We extensively test each batch and know that there are there is no issue with over-carbonation, the beer is simply carbonated to the high level that is historically associated with the style.

All Black Project bottles can, and should be stored warm, before chilling for 24 hours (ideally at "cellar temperatures" of 55-60°F). Since all of our beers are unpasteurized, they will continuing to evolve and change while aging. If there are any issues with any bottles ever, please contact topsecret@blackprojectbeer.com and we will do our best to remedy the situation.

CYGNUS

BOTTLE RELEASE: STARGATE: Peach Rye | Nectarine Bourbon

STARGATE: Peach Rye | Nectarine Bourbon

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will release “STARGATE: Peach Rye | Nectarine Bourbon” on January 12, 2018 to a select group of lottery winners that will be picked randomly from entries submitted online.

STARGATE: Peach Rye | Nectarine Bourbon is the latest release from the brewery’s “PROJECT: STARGATE”, which highlights different flavors and aromas of whole fruit fermented and aged in spirit barrels, which are filled with the brewery’s spontaneous solera sour golden “DREAMLAND”. Each year the brewery picks different fruits and spirit barrels, depending on the season, to age their sour golden for several months, imparting unique flavors and aromas into the base beer.

In 2016, STARGATE debuted as “DREAMLAND: Peach Rye”, a spontaneous sour golden aged in Law’s Whiskey House Rye Whiskey barrels and refermented with whole peaches from Palisade, Colorado. That same year, DRAFT Magazine named the beer among the "Top 25 beers of 2016" and PorchDrinking.com which declared STARGATE as one of the "Best Beers of 2016". The beer was later renamed to avoid confusion.

One year later, STARGATE was re-released to a long line of customers that extended down the street. Unfortunately, several cases were over-carbonated, which lead to canceling the release and recalling all bottles. After a few weeks of testing, Black Project discovered that the issue related to residual complex sugars in the bottles. The brewery decided to fix the problem by opening all overcarbed bottles and refermented the beer on more peaches, repackaged it, and re-release it at no additional cost to everyone that waited in line, creating the now legendary: STARGATE².

That is why this year, Black Project wanted to do something special by releasing the first double barrel blend of STARGATE. This beer combines Laws Whiskey House Rye barrel aged STARGATE with Peaches and Laws Whiskey House Bourbon barrel aged STARGATE with Nectarines together, to produce “the most complex, most fruit forward, and most nuanced sour beer we have ever made.” After tasting the barrels apart and blended, James Howat (founder, brewer, and blender) found that the fruit-forward rye whiskey and bourbon whisky complemented and showcased each fruit with more depth and complexity than the individual barrels alone, combining juicy peaches with tart nectarines, which adds an incredible complexity of spice from the rye with the rich vanilla oak from the bourbon finish.

Customers that are interesting in buying a bottle, must register in advance for the online lottery by visiting the brewery’s website: blackprojectbeer.com/lotterystargate before Thursday, January 4, 2018. Customers that win the online lottery will have a week to pre-purchase bottles for $22/bottle - 500mL bottle, cork and cap.

STARGATE: Peach Rye | Nectarine Bourbon

BOTTLE RELEASE: TAGBOARD

Over the last four years, we have made it our mission at Black Project to innovate in the research and development of spontaneous fermentation.

Today we announce our next bottle release, TAGBOARD, which is a perfect example of how we often aspire to mesh innovation with tradition. This beer is a 3-year blend of Lambic-inspired, coolship spontaneous beer that has been finished on fresh-picked Neomexicanus wet hops from Voss Farms, in Arvada, Colorado.

We have made other dry hopped sour beers, and have always said they should be enjoyed fresh to get the best hop flavor possible. However, we have noticed over the years that certain hop flavors in our beers can actually change in extremely interest ways as a bottle ages. A year old IPA almost always tastes a bit skunky or flat with regards to hop character. However, the diverse population of coolship-caught microbes in our spontaneous beers are able to both help prevent oxidation and also chemically alter some hop compounds over time.

TAGBOARD is the culmination of years of experimenting, research, and development into the latter process, called biotransformation, and exploring how it works with our unique microbial ecosystem in regards to hop compounds. Specifically, we began to recognize evidence that some component in our cultures seems to have long term β-glucosidase activity, causing the release of terpenoids through metabolism of terpenyl glycosides. This is a fancy way of saying that some microbes can release new and unique aromas and flavors from hops that would otherwise not be present in the beer.

After tasting the development of our dry hopped beers across several years, James decided that he wanted to make a beer designed to showcase this biotransformation of hop compounds, and the development of flavor and aroma over time in the bottle.
This year we were able to get our hands on a decent amount of fresh/wet hops of a variety called Neo1. This is a very unique hop, locally grown in Colorado at Voss Farms, and it was decided that these were what we would use for the TAGBOARD concept.

An interesting fact is that Neo1 are of the Neomexicanus variety, technically a different subspecies of hops than the ones normally used in brewing. Most brewing hops are Humulus lupulus var. lupulus which are originally native to Europe. These are Humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus which are native to the western United States, with this specific strain originally cultivated from wild hops in Northern New Mexico. Neo1 is known for pleasant lemon, citrus, and berry characteristics. We thought their flavor and oil profile, combined with the local/native aspect which so closely aligns with our beer would be perfect for our biotransformation project.

Instead of treating this like a traditional dry-hopped beer, we added the hops into several neutral oak barrels, as if we were adding fresh fruit. Each barrel received over 20lbs of wet hops, which were then filled with the blend of lambic-inspired beer. For two weeks, we let the wet hops soak in the barrels, infusing rich lemon, berry, mango, and sweet pine flavors into the beer. The slightly tart, funky, and traditional-tasting base beer meshes together beautifully with the fruity characteristics from the hops.

There was no question that for this special beer, the base would be a version of our pride-and-joy, a 3 year blend of lambic-inspired traditional spontaneous beer with an average age of over 20 months. This base beer, called OXCART when not dry-hopped, is made in a traditional fashion with 60% light barley malt, 40% unmalted wheat, aged hops added at the beginning of a 3+ hour boil, inoculated via coolship, and then fermented and aged in steam-cleaned, neutral French oak barrels. The production process for this beer means that this is the first qualifying release from Black Project since the introduction of the Méthode Traditionnelle (“M.T.”) certification mark for traditionally-made spontaneous ales. While we have made other beers (CYGNUS, OXCART, ROSWELL, LUNEX) which met the requirements prior to the launch of the certification, we are proud to have TAGBOARD be our first beer to carry the M.T. crest. TAGBOARD is a great example of a beer made to the M.T. standards that still showcases creativity and innovation.

The slightly tart, funky, and traditional-tasting base beer meshes together beautifully with the fruity characteristics from the hops. Blackberry, lemon zest, passion fruit, and ripe mango. It is hard to know where the hops end and the beer begins. Over the conditioning period we believe we have already seen evidence of our cultures working to change and transform some of the hop compounds in this beer. Some of you may have been lucky to have a sample from a single keg of this beer we put on tap when it was very fresh, the idea is that now you may be able to compare to the bottle as the beer starts to slowly transform. We think the bottles are amazingly enjoyable fresh, and still quite similar to when the beer was first tapped, but we also think you will be very impressed when you pull this bottle out of your cellar in a year or more.

 


DRAFT RELEASE: GEMINI | Konga Wote

Our cold-steeped coffee sour golden series returns with a new single origin blend.

Today we are releasing GEMINI | Konga Wote in partnership with Corvus Coffee. This is the latest variant in our GEMINI series, which explores the unique characteristics of single origin coffee beans by extracting complex flavors using our spontaneous solera sour golden as the canvas.

GEMINI | Konga Wote

Konga Wote is an Ethiopian coffee bean from the Wote Konga Cooperative in Gedo, Ethiopia. This is the second year Corvus Coffee has worked with Seife Tulloskorpi, an exporter, and Israel Degfa, a renowned coffee producer in the region.

By partnering with Corvus, we're able to showcase unique coffee beans from across the world that are being produced by small farms in select regions. Each new beer release in the GEMINI series will highlight the unique flavors and aromas of each coffee roast, something that Corvus Coffee specializes in with their Single Origin coffees. Since all the roasts are from a single origin, each beer will be as unique as the beans.

This is an intensely floral coffee, with earl grey and bergamot notes, citrus acidity, and some unusual flavors with prominent esters and stone fruit notes. 

GEMINI is named after “Project Gemini”, NASA's second spaceflight program. The aircraft carried two astronauts around Earth's orbit in the early 1960s, furthering our understanding of space and developing the techniques necessary to land on the moon. It was also responsible for pioneering orbital maneuvers necessary for working in space.

Through continuous innovation and exploration we hope to continue to push spontaneously fermented beer into unknown territory, leading to new discoveries, the same way Project Gemini made it possible for us to land on the moon.

BOTTLE RELEASE: DREAMLAND

Starting today (Friday) at 4pm, bottles of DREAMLAND, our spontaneous solera golden sour, will be available for purchase from the taproom, every weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), with a limited allotment of cases for each day and a limit of 2 bottles per person.

DREAMLAND was born from the coolship into two wine barrels. After 6+ months of development, we added both barrels to our first solera vessel and slowly filled it with wort as fermentation hit key stages of progression. An additional 4-5 months later and we finally release each batch from this solera. This progression started in 2015, that means that every batch that we keg or bottle, is a collection of over two years of blended beer, including the original batch. We now have five stainless steel soleras that are dedicated to the production of DREAMLAND. This allows us to keep this beer on tap consistently and create other beers from the base beer. 

DREAMLAND.jpg

While we enjoy the fun of having folks come out for a one-day release, our releases have been getting steadily larger and the line longer. This strains our relationship with our neighbors, and even more critically, it impedes our ability to move everyone through checkout in a timely fashion. So, going forward, we will have two formats for bottle releases:

-Bottles allocated for sale out of the taproom weekly, with a set daily allotment and per person limits

-Lottery and online sales out of the taproom with set per person limits and designated pickup windows

Note- These two new systems may be combined for special releases, where bottles are available for to-go with limited daily allocations as well as online through a lottery system. Our hope is that locals that are unable to wait in line on Saturday’s, can get bottles to-go, as well as customers that are traveling to Denver. 

DRAFT RELEASE: TAGBOARD

In time, there is the path that we know, and the path that has yet to be discovered. Spontaneous fermentation will always be the discovery of the unknown.

It is our job to guide the journey.

While we are hopeful in the end result, knowing that destination may change, that it may alter, the goal has always been to challenge the past with every step forward. In this regard, any variation from time honored tradition, puts us directly in the path of creation itself.

TAGBOARD | 5.0% ABV - 25 IBU
Barrel Aged Wet Hopped Three Year Spontaneous Blend

TAGBOARD

TAGBOARD begins as a blend of lambic-inspired, coolship spontaneous beer, brewed in accordance with the Méthode Traditionnelle guidelines*, which was then combined with fresh picked Neomexicanus wet hops from Voss Farms Colorado, in Arvada.

Instead of treating this like a traditional dry-hopped beer, we added the hops into several neutral oak barrels, as if we were adding fresh fruit. Each barrel received over 20lbs of wet hops, which were then filled with the blend of lambic-inspired, coolship inoculated spontaneous beer, that was aged for one, two, and three years in separate oak barrels.

For two weeks, we let the wet hops soak in the barrels, infusing fruity, citrus, and dank flavors from the hops into the beer. The slightly sour, funky, and traditional-tasting base beer meshes together with sweet pine, melon, and berry characteristics from the hops.

This is a single keg, one-off blend, of the larger batch, which will be available in bottles in several months.

Ultimately, our goal is to make this a wet hop sour unlike any other, as an experiment in time and aging. Wild microbes like ours are known to be able to bio-transform hop aroma compounds and flavor compounds, releasing new and interesting flavors from the hops as the beer ages, allowing a new experience in the transformative powers of our microflora on local Colorado hops.

Enjoy this special blend on draft now, then plan on buying bottles of the main blend when it is released in the future.

*Learn more at www.methodetraditionnelle.org

Méthode Traditionnelle

Late last year I was extremely excited to see Jester King and others introduce a certification mark for traditionally made coolship beers. You’ve probably heard of it, it was called Méthode Gueuze, and there was also the more general Méthode Lambic.

The idea of a certification mark for beers produced in certain ways is not new, I’ve long been an advocate for accuracy in naming types of sour beers. Being a big fan of Belgian beers, it is hard not to notice the distinct “Brewed in Belgium” and “Trappist” badges that adorn a lot of my favorite bottles. It definitely made sense to me that we should have a similar mark for different types of sour production, as I feel there is a ton of confusion and even some outright deception in that market. So, again, without a doubt, the mark published by the fine folks at Jester King definitely interested me.

The MG/ML marks, as many began to call them, were created to give a name for beers that were inspired by the unique production methods of Belgian gueuze and lambic, but that were not brewed in the Pajottenland region of Belgium. I know myself and many others feel strongly that a beer called lambic/gueuze can only come from this area around the Zenne River valley. As a brewer of beers made following the traditional process which are used there, it becomes difficult to figure out what to call our beers stylistically.

When it comes to beer style names, on one hand we want to honor the idea that our beer is not lambic as it is not made in Belgium. On the other hand we want to be able to concisely explain to our customers the complex and very special process that is used to make many of our beers.

Raw wheat, turbid mashing, 100% spontaneous coolship inoculation, barrel fermentation, etc - these are not required to make sour beer, they aren’t required to make great sour beers, even. However, these are the methods we have chosen to use in many of our beers, and we want to be able to share that information with our fans. Furthermore, as a consumer I think it is important to have an idea of how a beer is made when you see it on a store shelf or on a menu.

All of these issues were wonderfully solved by Méthode Gueuze / Méthode Lambic… until it came to everyone’s attention that perhaps not all of the actual Belgian lambic producers were OK with this name. Specifically, the High Council for Artisanal Lambic Beers (HORAL), which is an organization representing the vast majority of Belgian lambic breweries, said that they did not agree with the names/marks. This came as a surprise to many of us, including the creators of the marks. Eventually private emails became public and the beer world at large wondered what was going to happen. Some brewers continued or even began using MG or ML after it was clear HORAL did not agree with it, others - like Black Project - decided to wait and see what kind of resolution could be found.

Left to Right: James Howat, Jeffrey Stuffings, Pierre Tilquin, and Frank Boon

Left to Right: James Howat, Jeffrey Stuffings, Pierre Tilquin, and Frank Boon

Soon after, I was honored to have been invited to join many of my idols in the sour beer world to help shape and define the standards for Méthode Gueuze and Méthode Lambic. In June, as part of this involvement, I was able to travel to Lot, Belgium to a meeting at the 3 Fonteinen Lambik-O-Droom. The meeting included myself, Jeffrey Stuffings from Jester King, Pierre Tilquin from Gueuzerie Tilquin, Werner van Obberghen from 3 Fonteinen, and Frank Boon from Brouwerij Boon. It still feels pretty unreal and incredible to be included in that group. It was a great meeting with lots of great discussion (and plenty of great lambic poured for us by Armand DeBelder of 3 Fonteinen). Afterwards we spent time touring both the 3F and Boon facilities, a day I will never forget, but I digress.

Ultimately it was agreed that Méthode Gueuze and Méthode Lambic would be replaced by new marks which did not mention the words lambic or gueuze. It was agreed that there was no issue with American brewers following the traditional process to say in a description of their beer on labels that it was inspired by lambic/gueuze, but that those words shouldn’t be the style description or name of the beer. I don’t necessarily personally agree with HORAL that American Méthode Gueuze beers would be confused with real Belgian Gueuze beers sitting next to them on a shelf. However the much bigger issue for me is that MG was a mark created to show respect for the Belgian producers and if a large number of them felt it was disrespectful, it doesn’t make any sense to use it.

From the meeting with HORAL, a small group of U.S. brewers who are currently producing these traditional beers, began work on defining a new set of standards: Méthode Traditionnelle representing traditional lambic-inspired production methods and then Méthode Traditionnelle - 3 Year Blend representing gueuze-inspired aging and blending.

In my view, the creation and use of these marks is a huge step forward for naming, styles, and transparency in the American sour beer industry. Sour beer brewers in the U.S. are a small but passionate group, and make beer which an extremely diverse range of processes. To those brewers who follow the traditional Belgian-inspired processes, I would kindly ask you to consider using the Méthode Traditionnelle crests where applicable. For those that don’t make beer following this process, I would encourage you to work with others to figure out if there is a way to similarly define your methods to generate more clarity in our tiny slice of the craft beer world.

Black Project is extremely excited to now be able to use the Méthode Traditionnelle certification marks on our beers, knowing that the standards are clearly defined and that the marks are not causing contention with the producers who inspired us. You will begin to see the “MT” or “MT3” crests on relevant bottles of our beer very soon. Thanks so much for reading. I will be doing a Facebook Live Q&A this evening at 6PM (MDT) to talk about Méthode Traditionnelle as it relates to Black Project beers. Please note that this Q&A is not in any official capacity related to the Méthode Traditionnelle standards, but I am happy to answer questions from the Black Project / my personal perspective.

More information about the standards can be found at: Méthode Traditionnelle Standards

James Howat
Founder | Brewer | Blender