We’re excited to present our first year-round wild beer: THE REAVER – an oak-aged farmhouse-style ale, fermented with farmhouse ale yeast, brettanomyces, and wild yeast and souring bacteria native to our Coastal Virginia home. Tart and refreshing, this beer carries notes of nectarine and orange zest.
The Reaver is produced using a fermentation/aging/blending method called Solera. “Solera” is a winemaking technique also called “fractional blending”, which makes the end product of mixed age. In English, this means the vessels used to age the liquid are not completely emptied upon maturation. Some of the liquid is racked out, then the vessel is topped off with a younger, or brand new beer. This means every time we rack beer out, some of it is the original, older beer. This technique is useful to us for a few reasons. Not only does it create continuity of character in subsequent blending, it in many ways makes larger (and increasing) production volumes possible. The Reaver takes months to mature. But because we are constantly harvesting beer from the Solera and then introducing fresh wort, we’re able to achieve a steady supply of what normally takes great patience from start to finish.
As with all of our wild beer, this process begins with the Coolship. We do not source any souring bacteria from a laboratory, preferring instead to give these beers a sense of time and place. We do this by allowing freshly brewed wort to rest (and cool down) in our Coolship, which is open to the Coastal Virginia air. As the wort cools, it is inoculated with native wild yeast and souring bacteria. This process is what qualifies such a fermentation for the moniker “wild”. Our philosophy holds that if microflora used for fermentation is sourced solely from a laboratory, it cannot be honestly be called “wild”. Sour? Sure. Funky? No problem. But a wild beer must gain character from its environment. A wild beer requires a little more patience and a little more finesse, which is part of why we value it.
The Reaver will also be (and has been already) refermented with fruit. Any beer we release with the prefix “Reaver’s” in the title (i.e. Reaver’s Bounty, Reaver’s Prayer) indicates this beer as its base. You will see more iterations of these refermentations to come.
The Reaver is 7.0% ABV, 8 IBU, and has a Final Gravity of 1.000. Be among the first to try it on Saturday, December 12th. It will be available on draft and to go in 750ml bottles. There is no bottle limit.