This weekend I'll be tapping and sharing with you one of those beers that is truly close to my heart.
Barrel-aged Blondine was refermented with hand-picked, electric purple prickly pear fruit.
I friend of mine has some property right on the Guadalupe/Bexar County line with a ton of cactus and rattlesnakes. For 2019 I picked and cut 190 pounds of fruit out in the TX heat of early September. I chose to pick the fruit alone because I really wanted this release to be a representation of my art and my work. My hands, my inspiration. As I walked the property I connected with the terrior and the dusty aroma that dominates the native home of the fruit.
As with all of our Saison de beers, the fruit was used twice. This is a process I started years ago and it is a cornerstone of the complexity of this line of beers. For the first 'press' I selected Barrel 69 for its acidic and dry mouthfeel, which I blended with some young Blondine to give fresh yeast and even more complexity. The young beer also gives the wild yeast and bacteria of our house culture more nourishment during cellar time. This first 'press' yielded 60 gallons of dark, jammy beer. I pulled 5 gallons of this first press for a special release to our Sour Junkie Society 6X allocation next month. As a rule I don't release these fruit bombs simply because they're out of balance to the fruit side. But if I make a rule, even I have to break it so for something different, and because I think it helps tell the unique story of this beer, I am releasing a few cases of a version fruited at nearly 3.5 pounds of fruit per gallon.
(Stages of filling the beer over the fruit)
For the second press I selected barrel 52, which had previously held a beer with Malbec wine lees. The wine character was subtle but it dried the mouthfeel and gave this barrel a crispness that was perfect to layer the fruit flavor over. The second 'press' yielded 37 gallons and added complexity to the blend with longer skin contact and a funkier demeanor. On these second presses, the fruit juice has mostly been extracted and what we're left with are the skins and seeds. The color came out bright and the flavor rich, which left quite a bit of character behind for the spent fruit beer, Blondine de Figue de Barbarie, which is scheduled for release on November 14,
Both presses were blended together prior to packaging in 500ml bottles on October 2.
Only 340 bottles in 500ml were produced along with 8 small kegs for distribution and one half barrel keg for our tasting room.
Saison de Figue de Barbarie pours a beautifully dark, electric purple color with aromas of TX dust and sunbaked fruit. There is a punch of jammy flavor but the body is light and delicate with a long, bone-dry finish. This is a beer to savor and cellar.
Release in our Downtown Tasting Room begins Thursday, October 17 and lasts all weekend until Sunday, October 20. Draft pours are $10 and 500ml bottles to go are available for 14.25. As always, Sour Junkie Society members get 25% off. I look forward to hearing your feedback on this beer and introducing you to such a unique flavor.