In a room in Brussels, scrawled on sign overlooking rows and rows of lambic barrels, there is a barrel head with a phrase that you may have heard:
"Le temps ne respecte pas ce qui se fait sans lui"
Approximately translated as: "Time does not respect that which is done without him"
It is a phrase that wraps an idea, a method, and a desire into one. This mantra from Cantillon is something we have believed in from the beginning, and it's something that means even more now.
We are a small operation that produces about 120 gallons at a time with our largest batch we've brewed to date only being 4 barrels, that's roughly 7x 15.5 gallon kegs. Not only do we brew small, but our space is limited, 2800 square feet and nearly 50% of that is tasting room. This has left us with limited places to put barrels, or bottles, or raw materials. People ask us why we don't have more beer on tap, and despite our spacial limitations and brewing capacity, the answer has nothing to do with our space. It is TIME.
We do not believe in shortcuts. In fact, as our neighbors and friends at Law's Whiskey House say, "THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS".
Each of our beers (with very few exceptions) take eight months on average, even in stainless. Starting with 100% coolship-caught microbes, we collect yeast from the barrel and then directly transfer it to what we call "steel foeders". In these vessels, we allow them to act as soleras: each time we pull beer from the vessel, we fill it back up with fresh wort without the addition of more yeast but instead, allowing the original yeast to convert the sugar from the newly added wort. This allows the beer to flow and evolve between each pull, creating depth and complexity. For the beers that aren't aged for months, we have carefully foraged and grown the yeast that is used. HYPERSONIC, our New England-style IPA, is brewed with a strain of yeast that we found on the skin of a wild apple in our neighborhood. It was selected specifically to brew citrusy IPAs because of it's white wine-like character. Even this process requires a significant amount time.
The OXCART release last month and the CYGNUS release coming up this weekend will be two of our largest releases to date with about 60 cases total between the two beers. It has been three years in the making.
Three years of brewing, three years of aging, three years of tasting, and three years of blending and dumping barrels.
In July we were offered the opportunity to expand our space into the antique store adjacent to us. This was a Godsend. We had been considering how and where to expand, with opportunities offered on the Western Slope and Virginia. As soon as the expansion was offered and finalized, we opened up the wall between the two and began building a barrel cellar. Soon after, we had 100 oak barrels delivered from Rocky Mountain Barrel Company, and just a few weeks ago we received a custom-built 10-barrel copper coolship. As of this writing, the barrels are in place and set to be filled, the window above the coolship has been installed, and the coolship has been tested. Over the next few weeks we'll be filling every single barrel with coolshipped beer, finally working toward larger batches, along with some bottle availability in the tasting room.
We hope this helps people understand that while we want to release more beer (and are currently making a lot more that will be ready in time), at this stage it is a game of patience. It's important to us to respect our product enough to give it time. Time limits us, but we also believe in it's power to transform. Time does not respect that which is done without him. Time can't be forced. It creates a product that can't be forced. It creates something spontaneous. We will remember this mantra while working among the barrels this winter.
See you soon,
Co-Founder, Black Project