Schlafly Beer Schedules Limited Release for The Variant II Barrel-aged Imperial Stout

 

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Photo credit for the featured image and image above: Lee Wallace of @the_outdoorsy_guy

Schlafly Beer (St. Louis, Missouri) has officially announced that it will begin the extremely limited release of The Variant II, a blended Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, on Saturday, December 8.

 

Arriving as the successor to the wildly popular and incredibly exclusive Ibex Rare: The Variant that was released in Spring 2017, The Variant II is a blended Imperial Stout “that is both aged in brandy barrels as well as aged with sour cherries.” An “ideal blend” of the two treatments yields “rich notes of sour cherries . . . followed by luxurious dark malts and candy-like booze notes from the brandy barrels.”  The Variant II weighs in at 9.4% ABV.

“We were blown away with the response to The Variant so we wanted to be sure that the next variation was something special. The conversations started amongst our brewing team, and we are getting really inspired by cocktails at Schlafly with a lot of our beers (such as our Cellar Series Kentucky Mule and Paloma Gose) so we started kicking around ideas about flavors inspired by classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. The combination of the brandy barrels and cherries was the perfect blend to evoke those flavor profiles with our base Imperial Stout.”

– Jared Williamson, Lead Brewer and overseer of Schlafly’s Ibex Rare program 

The Variant II will debut in the Schlafly Tap Room on Saturday, December 8 at 11 a.m.  This Limited Release offering will be available in “unique” 750 ml bottles for the cost of $30 each (limit of 3 bottles per customer).  If you cannot make it out to Schlafly for the release, a limited number of bottles of The Variant II will also be available in the market as long as supplies last.  Prost!

Vital Information for The Variant II from Schlafly Beer

Release – Limited; December 8, 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 9.4%
Treatment – “The Variant II is a blended stout that is both aged in brandy barrels as well as aged with sour cherries. The brewers aged a portion of the stout with the sour cherries for four weeks and another in the brandy barrels for six months.”
Fun Fact – On the Ibex Rare program: “The Variant II continues the values of the Ibex Rare series: to showcase the Schlafly brewers’ commitment to the artistry, ingenuity and passion for craft beer. The series showcases what happens when the brewers take a no-holds-barred approach to brewing beer. The series predecessors include: Lazy Ballerina, The Eleventh Labor as well as Devil’s Farmhouse.”
Availability – 750ml bottles

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Schlafly Beer to Pair Solar Eclipse with Path of Totality Pack

SchlaflylogoSchlafly Beer (St. Louis, Missouri) has announced plans to commemorate this summer’s solar eclipse with the release of the special edition Path of Totality pack of its Helles-style Lager in June.

As self-proclaimed “science nerds”, the crew at Schlafly Beer is preparing for this summer’s total eclipse – Monday, August 21 – by putting together the Path of Totality pack, a limited-edition packaging of their Helles-style Lager named after the path that experiences complete darkness during an eclipse.  Wrapped in black and metallic silver labels, these 6 and 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles will also include a pair of solar glasses so eclipse gazers can “watch the phenomenon safely.”

“St. Louis is along the Path of Totality, the path of the eclipse that will experience total darkness. As science nerds at Schlafly, we are very excited for this, along with the rest of the city, so we wanted to do something fun to celebrate. The last total eclipse seen in St. Louis was almost 550 years before anyone had tried a Schlafly beer back in 1442,” says Founding Brewer Stephen Hale.

As for the beer itself, Schlafly’s Helles-style Lager is “a bright, golden beer . . . reminiscent of European lagers.”  The beer begins with a backbone of “fresh grain character” that is balanced by the “mild lemony, spicy flavor” of German Mittelfrüh hops.  Weighing in at just 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, Helles-style Lager proves itself to be a perfect option for summertime drinking.

The Path of Totality pack will release in June and be available all summer long in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles for the suggested retail price of $7.99 and in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles for the suggested retail price of $13.99.  You can expect to find these limited-edition packs at craft beer retailers located in Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and throughout the rest of Schlafly Beer’s distribution footprint.

If you happen to live in the St. Louis area, Schlafly Beer is also planning an Eclipse Field Trip party on eclipse day itself on Monday, August 21.  This event will take place at the Dew Drop Inn (Bloomsdale, Missouri) and include the following:

  • Bus transportation to and from the Dew Drop Inn
  • Beer on the bus and at the event
  • BBQ lunch
  • Lawn games
  • Live music

Tickets to this event are $45 each and will be available for purchase beginning on July 1.  You can click here for more information concerning this event and to purchase tickets once they are released.  Tickets are incredibly limited.

Whether you are able to make the Eclipse Field Trip or simply pick up a Path of Totality pack, just do what you can to ensure that you have a Helles-style Lager in hand while you experience and appreciate a rare total solar eclipse on August 21.  Prost!

Vital Information for Helles-style Lager from Schlafly Beer

Release – Seasonal (Limited Edition Packaging), Path of Totality packs launch June 2017
Style – Helles Lager
ABV – 4.5%
IBUs – 17
Malts – Pale, Europils & Carapils
Hops – Mittelfrüh & Magnum
Yeast – German Lager
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Fun Fact – “The German word ‘Helles’ translates as ‘light’ and ‘Lager’ means ‘to store’.”

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Tasting Notes: Hop Trial – Hallertau Blanc from Schlafly Beer

hoptrialfinalThis week’s edition of Tasting Notes focuses on the fundamentals with a peek into the Hop Trial SMaSH Pack from Schlafly Beer (St. Louis, Missouri).

Schlafly Beer recently got back to the basics by creating and releasing the Hop Trial SMaSH Pack, a variety of four beers showcasing a Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH).  The focus of this pack is to take a look at unique hop varieties from four different hop growing regions: Bramling Cross of England, Enigma of Australia, Eureka! of the United States, and Hallertau Blanc of Germany.  This approach truly highlights everything these hops have to offer, and it allows the brewery to test out these varieties before they utilize them in future releases.  The Hop Trial SMaSH Pack contains three bottles of each beer and was released last month to select retailers within Schlafly’s distribution area.

For the sake of my liver and a reduced word count, this post will concentrate on just one of the variations available in the Hop Trial SMaSH Pack.  Since my heritage makes me a sucker for anything German, let’s jot down some Tasting Notes on Hop Trial – Hallertau Blanc.

Tasting Notes on Hop Trial – Hallertau Blanc from Schlafly Beer

Appearance: Hop Trial – Hallertau Blanc absolutely lives up to the name of its Golden Ale style by pouring up a shimmering golden with just a touch of more defined orange hues pushing through.  Held to the light, the yellows brighten a bit but the overall color remains consistent regardless of light intensity.  The body has a touch of haze to it, but that dissipates quickly as the beer warms and reveals a clean, clear appearance.  The carbonation is moderate, displaying uniform lines of bubbles that industriously course their way to the head.  The pour produced over a finger of chunky foam that is perfectly white.  The head has great retention, falling incredibly slowly during the drink to eventually settle in as a half finger that lasts for the rest of the experience.  Lines of lace are left at times, but a good portion tends to slip slowly back down the glass to return to the top cap.

Aroma:  I am more than happy to find that this beer owns the overall intention of the SMaSH Pack by truly being an in depth look at the Hallertau Blanc variety.  The aroma begins with a big floral bouquet that is fresh, clean and an easy reminder of a spring day’s splendor.  A wisp of tropical and citrus fruits resides in the background only to be overtaken by an elegant white wine grape character ( lightly fruity, wonderfully earthy grape must aroma). The malt presence is light, providing balance with an almost wildflower honey-like quality.  I cannot express how truly delightful this aromatic experience is.

Taste:  The flavor leads off with that grape character, translating as a chardonnay note.  There is then an easy transition to floral and grassy tones that are accompanied by just a grace of grapefruit and lemon zestiness.  The hops are definitely pronounced, but they are in no way aggressively overbearing or ridiculously dank.  This is thanks to a beautiful balance achieved by the light, sweet and biscuity malts.  The malt presence is clean and stealthy to allow those hop notes to take center stage.  The proper adjective to use here is elegant.

Mouthfeel:  This brew is on the lighter side of medium in body with a lively carbonation level.  The carb level mimics the prickliness of some white wines, and that even more so brings the beer together by creating cohesion between the aromatic and flavor profiles and the mouthfeel.  The ABV is light and does not really make its presence known at all.  Aftertaste is all floral hop notes.

Final Thoughts:  Hop Trial – Hallertau Blanc is simply a wonderful experience overall and it easily achieves the goals for which this series was created.  The base Golden Ale is a perfect canvas that allows this beautiful hop to exhibit those absolutely stunning floral and white wine notes unique to the Hallertau Blanc variety.  This hop has so much to offer countless styles, and I now know that because the treatment of this variety in this offering makes me feel like I truly learned something from a beer.  Incredibly well done and high praise to Schlafly for the achievement earned in the creation of Hop Trial – Hallertau Blanc and the Hop Trial SMaSH Pack as a whole.  Prost!