If you were following the twitterverse closely on Tuesday, you might have noticed an interesting story developing, as relayed in tiny bites by Lagunitas owner Tony Magee. I’ve rejiggered the twitter stream, re-ordered it, uncompressed abbreviated words, and added additional ones for clarity in an attempt to make it a more coherent story.
“We had a crazy strong 4th quarter 2011 and are nearly MAXED! out right now. This could cause SERIOUS supply problems as Spring approaches.” As you may recall, “our new brewhouse,” specifically the “Lauter Tun, was savagely attacked by a crane in the mid-Atlantic and that has delayed the start-up by a about a month. Working on the new brewhouse installation and all the plant improvements have been my whole life for the last year, so, for me, it’s personal!” I “don’t want to disappoint friends, customers, retailers, or distributors” and “since the cool new owners of Anchor have become our friends,” and “since their brewers are totally the most experienced Craft Brewers anywhere on Earth, I asked them if they could help us somehow.” They magnanimously said yes, “so we’re working with them right now to brew some IPA draft for us. Can you dig that? Anchor Brewing! Its’a STRAIGHT-UP honor that Anchor is willing to help us through this two-month hump. It is great to have such friends on this crazy competitive left-coast! I love this career. Imagine; working with the brew-co father of us all.”
So that sounds intriguing, right? Lagunitas brewing in the cooolships at Anchor?!? I spoke to Anchor co-owner Keith Greggor, who confirmed that’s exactly what happened. He stressed that we shouldn’t read too much into it, it’s just one brewery helping out another, which is great, I think. So for the next couple of months, head brewer Jeremy Marshall will, from time-to-time, be overseeing Lagunitas IPA being brewed in San Francisco.
They’ll be brewing IPA for draft only there, at least until the new brewhouse in Petaluma can be completed. That also means that shortly, when you an order a Lagunitas IPA from a keg, it could have been brewed at Anchor. As far as I know, this is the first time a non-Anchor beer has been brewed on Anchor’s system at their present location. Now this is a great example of our community, where a brewery can set aside any competitive impulse and help out a fellow brewer in need. As Greggor said. “It just felt like the right thing to do. You help your friends.” How cool is that?
This is hard to figure out. Where are they fermenting? Not the steam pans; those are spoken for 24/7 for Steam. The ale room seems most likely, but with what yeast? I don’t think Anchor wants another yeast in that room. So is this IPA with Anchor yeast instead of what Lagunitas usually uses? Or do they already use the same yeast? I doubt that; Anchor has been very secretive about their yeast; I don’t think anyone really knows what it is. I can’t wait to hear more.
Ditto – come March, I’ll definitely be ordering Lag IPA on draft wherever I happen upon it. Since this won’t be bottled, we’ll miss a “Laguniberty” label (unless it gets stuck on the kegs to become eventual collectors’ items).
I am sort’a close to the plan for brewing and the IPA will be brewed in the Steam fermentors… open. The yeast will be supplied by Jeremy, brought down from Petaluma… We all think it will be very hard to tell the difference… of course, open fermentors are known to produce a superior ale!! 🙂 …we’re being very careful!
The Steam pan geometry is so different from what Lagunitas normally does, I can’t believe it will be “hard to tell the difference”. I can’t wait to taste it. It WILL be different.
I’m sure you’re correct, and it is also true that when you don’t know what you’re talking about, then anything is possible! 🙂
I’m sure your observations will be well served by your expectations !
I’ve had a vague conversation with an informant who is not authorized to talk about this stuff. I don’t know as much as I’d like.
The first batch of Lagunitas IPA has been brewed and is now in the cellar. It sounds like it was not fermented in the Steam pans, but the ale room. It sounds like it was the Lagunitas yeast, which seems very risky. There may be more batches.