We got a chance to finally taste some of Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales, Former Future’s side venture that focuses its attention entirely on spontaneously fermented wild ales. We almost had a chance at Salida’s Brewers Rendezvous, but started at the other end of the fest and by the time we arrived at Black Project’s booth, their kegs had run dry.
After a bronze at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014 for Flyby, Former Future’s initial release for the project, each and every release has almost faster than they can brew. In an article Brewtally Insane publishedthis past Tuesday, Former Future/Black Project’s James Howat said his goal was to be producing upwards of 100 cases a month by this time next year. They recently added six 15bbl new fermentation and aging vessels to help keep up with the demand. It will be awesome to see some of the bigger batches of Black Project hitting store shelves then!
We arrived at Former Future’s spot on S. Broadway a little after 10am, and were surprised to only see ten or so people lined up by the front door. Some boxes and chairs were queued up behind them, saving spots for some breakfast seekers, but it was pretty low key compared to some of the crazy lines we’ve experienced at releases like Casey. It had the same relaxed atmosphere of a Casey release, but no one camped out over night, and thanks to everyone in line getting at least one bottle, there was no stress to hold your spot and the entire line became one big social gathering.
Over the next 2 hours, little by little, the line snaked down the block. Occasional passerby’s asked why we were all lined up, some expressed what seemed like feigned interest until they continued on their way. The final count as the doors opened, according to Former Future/Black Project’s Mitch Ermatinger, sat right at 80 people, but more showed up afterwards.
We can’t emphasize enough how the system Black Project used for the bottle allotments made things work so smoothly. Essentially, after they walked down the line and handed a ticket to everyone, the doors opened. Each ticket guaranteed you one bottle, and you could buy up to 4 more beyond that for a full allotment of 5 bottles. It’s a simple system, but it keeps tempers simmered because everyone in line is going to get at least one.
The Blueberry Dreamland was our favorite variant available during the release.
On tap were two upcoming variants of Dreamland, which have been bottled but aren’t fully conditioned just yet. The tapped versions weren’t bottle conditioned, but force carbonated instead. While they had less of the expected depth and maturity we sometimes expect from a bottle conditioned sour, they still were incredible. We were especially fond of the blueberry Dreamland, which had an incredibly complex berry flavor and touches of red wine from being aged in red wine barrels. Their other option, the Peach Dreamland which was aged in A.D. Laws Secale rye whiskey barrels was wonderfully smooth with a rich peach flavor balancing the whiskey, and should hold up nicely when it gets released.
A special thanks to Former Future/Black Project for holding such an awesome release. We’ll be back!