A Virginia Bred Collaboration Brings Us An Uncommon Beer

Devils Secret ImageCollaboration beers have long become a commonplace trend in the craft beer world.  Breweries “join” ideas to come up with something special to commemorate an event, or to tackle a particular kind of beer foreign to each individually, or just for kicks.  Thankfully, collaborations remain mostly a fresh idea, and are still reason to sit up and take notice, as they are often one-off beers, limited releases that are here and soon gone.

When two or more local breweries get together to take a shot at a beer, it only adds to the appeal.  Brewers who usually know each other already teaming up to make something special sounds a bit like old friends from the same neighborhood working inside a garage until all hours of the night, banging away with their tools to design some contraption each had always held a lifelong dream to create, but individually might have never taken the time to do so – a home spun effort of like minded mad scientists, for the benefit of us all.

Such a beer is currently fermenting away at Forest Virginia’s Apocalypse Ale Works, readying itself for release.  Apocalypse’s co-conspirators and brewers Lee and Doug John joined forces with Devils Backbone Head Brewer Jason Oliver to formulate what I believe is the first collaboration between the two breweries.  Adding to the curiosity, the beer isn’t a type which is too commonly found to say the least.  Instead of being just another collaboration IPA, or stout, the brewers have come up with their take of the relatively uncommon German style “Doppelsticke” beer.  These are typically cool/cold stored (or lagered) ales with a decidedly malty showcase of flavors.  Take a look around your next visit to the beer store – and challenge yourself to find one of these usually sweet, rich experiences.  It’s not likely you’ll be successful.  Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing puts out a version called “Double Bag”.  And if you’re lucky, you might run across a few bottles of a German produced one from the brewery Uerige Obergärige Hausbrauerei.  (In case you do, pick one or two up, they’re absolutely delicious.)

As far as flavors go, the best, as in the Uerige, pack plenty of deep, dark, alcohol soaked raisins or similar, or what might be thought of as a rich caramel like flavor, with perhaps some rough around the edge graininess to the beer.  Usually these are a tad high in abv, so expect a pleasant warming affect while drinking them.  Also expect some amount of balancing hop qualities, but usually, the maltyness takes center stage.  Overall, they can be deliciously intense, rich beers.

The Apocalypse/Devils Backbone collaboration will be called Devils Secret (Sticke = “Secret”) and should be out relatively soon – the Apocalypse Facebook page mentions late February – which is still plenty of time to let such a beer help warm you against the cold of winter.  No word yet on whether this will be a brewrey only release, but I’m hoping there will be limited distribution to nearby areas, so keep a watch out!

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~ by thebeerroad on January 23, 2014.

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