Unfiltered: Brew Year’s Resolutions

By John Gillooly, Drake’s Brewmaster
January 8, 2018

I’ve been commissioned for another one of these writing projects that the marketing department thinks are somehow good ideas to inflict on me. “Let’s get John to talk about, like, beer and brewing next year!” Yeah, OK – sigh, so let’s talk about beer and brewing in 2018.

First: Beer Stuff 

We get the year started putting together our annual collabs with HenHouse and Beachwood breweries, for release during SF Beer Week.  On January 4th, I headed to Santa Rosa to brew a “fresh beer” complement to the smoked Imperial Stout we already have aging in hand turkey barrels down here. The fresh and barrel-aged beers will be blended to form Fowl Play V: No Styles, No Masters, which will be released the first Monday of Beer Week at a beer dinner at the Dealership.

Then, the next day (the fu-fu-fu-fi-ith!), Julian Schrago graced our brewhaus as we attempted to brew an all-in one Brass Monkey (Hazy Monkey). We combined elements of Malt Liquor and Hazy IPA with some blood orange puree and orange zest. Because we’re classy. Next up – Imperial Pruno?

Left: John Gillooly & Julian Schrago | Right: “Fowl Play V: No Styles, No Masters,” aging away

These will be a couple of our featured beers for SF Beer Week, but the real point of the week is to pimp the Hopocalypse family, which will be released the preceding Saturday, February 4th at Hopocalypse Day. We’re brewing multiple variations on the theme – Hopocalypse Green Label DIPA is the flagship, with ridiculously over-hopped Hopocalypse Black Label Triple IPA joining it in bottles. We’ll preview Hopocalypse White Label, an unfiltered IPA broadly in the New England style, which we will bottle later in the spring, and run a few other variations out on draught. We’ll also be brewing a celebratory Triple IPA for Celebrator Magazine (it’s their 30th Anniversary!), so really, this place is just going to get overrun with hops. And by the time Beer Week is over, it will be time to bring back Hop Vice White IPA in 6-packs, one of our favorite beers last year.

So, in like sales terms, the above just covers “Q1,” which on paper really looks effing busy. And that’s probably not everything! In fact, I am deliberately keeping something under my hat, but heck, let’s just stipulate that we plan to make a whole bunch of cool beers in 2018. We’ve got some crazy new hops to play with (Styrian Dragon!) and we are planning to up our “one-off” game by another order of magnitude. Check in at our Barrel House or the Dealership for whatever new is on tap. And by summer, add The Barn in Sacramento as another outlet for all things Drake’s.

Let’s Talk About Music

I saw some really excellent concerts last year (Tei Shi! The Flaming Lips! Hundred Waters!), and already have some great looking ones lined up this year. I’ll start by pimping… Drake’s! (Marketing was getting irked but now they are happy again). Drake’s is putting on an AMAZING concert at The Uptown this year to celebrate our annual malt liquor release. On top of our 510 Malt Liquor, we will debut 10-20 Imperial Malt Liquor. Our Cellar Manager Hal’s awesome band, Year of the Fist, will be bringing the slammin’ rock, while Brewer Malachi will treat us to a set by Mantis One, along with DJ action from Children of the Funk, and an opening treat from The Helltones. Ha – look, I snuck in beer! Then, really looking forward to the dual Jay Som/Japanese Breakfast show the following week (Thanks, Noise Pop!) and fast behind that I get to catch up with Sunflower Bean! Anyway, everyone – go enjoy live music!