Grand Canyon Brewing getting all “Wild”
Written by Scott Keys and Aaron Forrester, collectively known as Beers N Buddies
Perhaps the most famous playwright ever, Mr. Bill Shakespeare, once queried, “What’s in a name?” For Shakespeare, that name was Romeo, and it did not end well, but for craft beer enthusiasts attending the beer festival Real Wild, & Woody, that name evokes thoughts of wild yeast sour ales, barrel aged farmhouse beers, and crazy flavors that you’d never imagine would be in a beer. Lucky for us, brewers across the state of Arizona, and a few select other locations, did imagine these beers and they have spent months, nay years developing flavor profiles so wild, so woody, and just so sour for the chance to create something that is both delicious and impressive, not only to their patrons, but to their colleagues as well.
Although all beer festivals have a certain charm and appeal, this years Real Wild, and Woody promises to be extra special, especially for fans of Grand Canyon Brewing. Much like how Beers N’ Buddies was fortunate to work with The Beer Research Institute for our own collaboration (check out both our article and documentary on the experience), Grand Canyon Brewing has teamed up with multiple breweries to create not one, but four different collaborations for this year’s festival. But wait, like any great infomercial, there is more; A fifth mystery collaboration beer is underway! How do we know this, you ask, well, Beers N’ Buddies was provided an exclusive interview with Alex Phillips, Director of Sales and Marketing for Grand Canyon Brewing, who provided us with a breakdown on these collaborations. All we can say is that we can’t wait for July 28th to arrive, and after we provide you with the 411 on these brews, you won’t be able to either.
It may well be that Grand Canyon Brewing is a master of foreshadowing, because earlier this year they teamed up with 12 West Brewing and Bottleshop 48 to produce Tommy’s Lullaby, a Green Kool-Aid sour ale, a truly unique beer experience for sure. For Real Wild, &Woody, Grand Canyon and 12 West are at it again, this time with The Whining Pig, where they brewed up a little number they call the “Pickle Rick Gose,” a brew inspired by Adult Swim’s show Rick and Morty and Sonic’s Pickle Slush drink. This may sound a bit wild, but it’s supposed to be, and theses brewers went as crazy as Rick Sanchez and they created something that we predict will be the talk of the town. With notes of salt and dill, this gose is definitely going to be on our list!
If a dill inspired sour ale is not wild enough for you, Grand Canyon has more tricks up their sleeve, and for this next brew they’re bringing the neighbors next door with them: Dark Sky Brewing. Inspired by FOX’s King of the Hill, these brewers decided to sell “Sour Beer and Sour Beer Accessories,” which is the beer’s name incidentally. With the haze craze that is currently enveloping the west coast, these brewers concocted a brew that is both unique and wild all at once, and it is definitely one that we are excited to try. Obviously sour beers will be plentiful at Real, Wild & Woody, but we doubt any can claim to be a New England Berliner Weisse. That’s right, a hop forward berliner, proving once again that craft beer innovation has no bounds. With 11 lbs. of dry hopped Galaxy hops in this sour ale, we are looking forward to the sweet, sour, and hoppy characteristics this beer promises to bring.
While the name Real Wild, & Woody evokes images of sour ales, GABF, perhaps the Super Bowl of beer fests, conjures up images of “too much good stuff,” as AM/PM might say, and Grand Canyon’s next beer found its roots at that larger than life fest. In 2017, California based Captain Fatty’s took home Gold at GABF for their Kalliope Berliner-Style Weisse. With such notoriety, any brewery would be lucky to collaborate with them, and so it comes as no surprise that when Grand Canyon Brewing got the chance to do a collaboration with Captain Fatty’s, they jumped at the opportunity. During our conversation, Alex mentioned that he has a culinary degree and one of his passions is fruit, specifically kiwi. When kiwi meets a berliner-weisse, the result is “Kiwilussion” (think Collusion, it’s in the name) a marvelous marriage of Alex’s love of that fuzzy fruit and a fun reference to the fantasy football-based show, “The League.” Although we look forward to trying this, we know that kiwi is a delicate flavor and we are curious to see how well the flavor pulls through and if it will score a touchdown with those who try it.
Almost without exception, collaborations take time and careful planning, but there are moments when inspiration hits and you just need to act. For their next beer, Grand Canyon has teamed up again with The Whining Pig to give a teaser of future collaborations to come. “Business Expense” is a berliner weisse in a cask aged with honey and Socorro Peppers. Much like Anaheim peppers, the heat is very subtle and gives way to the sweet notes of the peppers themselves, while any remaining heat is tempered by the honey. Sweet, spicy, tart, smooth… this beer seems to be a contradiction. But, sometimes it’s good to be bad, and nice to be right and wrong at the same time.
Four down, one to go, and this brings us to the collaboration that Grand Canyon Brewing plans to officially announce at Real, Wild & Woody! A brief moment to digress. As you likely know, or maybe you don’t, boiling a liquid called wort is a vital step in the brewing process, one that occurs directly after the mash, and this step usually takes an hour or so to accomplish. Deviating from this will likely alter the final product. Digression over. In August of this year, Grand Canyon Brewing will be teaming up with 8-Bit Aleworks to create “24 Hour Gamerfuel,” and although we would love to describe what this beer will be, we simply don’t know. That said, remember when Shakespeare asked “what’s in a name,” well, for this brew, its 24 hours because this beer will be boiled, wait for it . . . for 24-hours and they will be livestreaming the entire ordeal. They will also live-stream video gameplay, a fun and unique offering that promises to pass the time. With a target ABV of 18%, we expect this beer to be crazy complex in flavor and quite possibly one of the most interesting beers to try in Arizona this year. The fact that this will be a 24-hour boil shows that this brew will be a literal labor of love and we are more than eager to learn what style it will be: a Barleywine, a Strong Ale, an Imperial Stout? If we may, Beers N’ Buddies would like to get in on all of this collaboration and suggest that it be a stout: it’s what we love.
Well, there you have it! Beers that will push the edge of flavor and what can even be considered a beer. If the collaborations that Grand Canyon Brewing is planning on bringing to this festival are any indication of what can be expect at this year’s Real Wild, & Woody, then we hope you already have your tickets in hand because this event is shaping up to be a unique experience. And as far as beer festivals go, well, this one promises to leave a sour taste in your mouth, but, that’s the point.