What did you do for New Year’s Eve 2012? If you have a few minutes I’ll recount what I did!
6:30 a.m. on Monday Dec 31st, it’s still dark out and I am driving east on the I-10 from West Valley into central Phoenix. I am heading to SunUp Brewing Company at 3rd St. and Camelback. I pull into an empty parking lot, go around to the back of the building and wait. 7 a.m. is too early to get a beer at Sun Up, so what am I doing here so early? This morning Floyd and I are brewing with Uwe Boer, the Brew Master of Sun Up Brewing Company.
Two months earlier while talking with Uwe, we discussed brewing a Freak’N/SunUp collaboration beer. We discussed creating something special for release during AZ Beer Week (Feb 16-23). Every brewery planning for AZ Beer Week is thinking “What can I do that is interesting this year?” Uwe decided that collaboration with Freak’N Brewing Company would not only be interesting, but obviously, help get the word out about Freak’N!!!
So, back to the cold parking lot, Uwe pulls up and gets out of his truck wearing shorts and a hooded sweatshirt. We all agree it’s cold outside and head into the brewery. No time to shake the cold off, we need to start filling the kettle with water to heat up for the mash. Pumping in more than 200 gallons of water will take some time. Once the water is flowing we’ll have time to exchange pleasantries and start refining our recipe.
We’ve decided on a “Double Black IPA”. All of us are excited because we’re using twice as many hops as SunUp uses in their Trooper IPA, we’re talking above 80 IBUs then using whole leaf hop additions of Simcoe and Cascade. Oh, and there’s a half a pound of grain in every pint of this beer!!! That’s specialty!!
Over the next few hours our discussion weaves between Arizona brewing history, Q&A’s about technical brewing methods, and the future of Arizona’s craft beer culture. From the history discussion, I was excited to learn that Uwe started out as a home brewer in San Diego at Ballast Point’s Homebrew Mart, the same place I started learning about home brewing. From the methods discussion he reminded me that production processes are the same as home brewing, however, the “buckets” are bigger. On the future of craft beer in Arizona, Uwe said that Sun Up is building a production facility where they will be packaging for distribution. This was also exciting to hear coming off the heels of Four Peak’s new production brewery and the recent announcement of Huss Brewing Company. The craft beer scene is growing statewide and I’m glad that Freak’N Brewing Company is “paddling hard to catch the wave”!
After 11 hours of heating and cooling water and wort we are finally cleaned up and ready to head home. I’d like to send out a huge “Freak’N Thanks” to Uwe and Norm at SunUp for making this collaboration happen. The XX Black IPA will be served throughout AZ Beer Week. Sun Up will have it on tap all week and they’ll bring some out to the Strong Ale Festival. Freak’N plans to bring it out to craft beer bars around the valley, so keep watching our facebook, twitter, and freaknbrew.com for information on where we’ll be!!
~ Cheers, Doug