The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Beer Run

Collaboration 29 at the Governor’s Mansion

Reasonkeg

People ask where they can find Collaboration 29, the new limited release IPA from Reason Beer for which demand has seemed to exceed supply. The answers are few. Beer Run, Kardinal Hall, Reason, and now . . . the Executive Mansion of the Governor of Virginia.

Home to Virginia’s governors since 1813, the Executive Mansion is the nation’s oldest governor residence. From its origins, the mansion boasted a separate cookhouse, smokehouse, and ice house, but it was not until 2014 that it added a kegerator, thanks to beer-loving Governor Terry McAuliffe, who then passed it to his successor. “Governor McAuliffe very generously donated the kegerator to the Executive Mansion,” said Governor Ralph Northam, “although it is probably no surprise that we are not getting quite as much use out of it as he did.” That said, the kegerator does not sit idle. “We continue to demonstrate Virginia’s commitment to the craft beverage industry by offering guests to the Mansion draft beer from a Virginia brewery,” said Northam.

As of today, that beer is Collaboration 29. A tribute to Charlottesville itself and named after The Charlottesville 29, Reason calls the beer a “a juicy, tropical love letter to our home town, brewed in partnership with Beer Run, Murphy & Rude, Kardinal Hall and The Charlottesville 29.” Governor Northam saw it as an ideal fit. “I like that this particular beer represents a collaboration among the men and women who work in the food and beverage scene that makes Charlottesville such a great place to live,” said Governor Northam.

And so, just hours after belting a grand slam in his summer softball league, Governor Northam celebrated today by welcoming Collaboration 29 and its contributors to the Mansion. For Reason, there were Mark Fulton, Jeff Raileanu, and Devon Callan. For Kardinal Hall and Beer Run, there were John Woodriff and Justin Castelhano. And, for Murphy & Rude, there was Jeff Bloem.

reasongroup

(L to R) Devon Callan, Jeff Raileanu, Jeff Bloem, Justin Castelhano, Governor Ralph Northam, John Woodriff, and Mark Fulton

“We knew we were putting together a great beer with great partners, but we never thought it would make it this far!” said Reason brewer Mark Fulton. “We were honored to meet Governor Northam and look forward to his continued support of our industry.” Congratulations to Reason and the collaborators, and also to Governor Northam and staff for having such a delicious beer on tap.

While brewery collaborations are often just one-offs, there is word that the great demand for Collaboration 29 could persuade Reason to make it again. And again. Stay tuned.

Introducing Collaboration 29

cville29beer

Though rarely made explicit, an underlying theme of this site’s content is community collaboration. The Charlottesville 29 exists, after all, to celebrate the Charlottesville food community. And, perhaps the defining characteristic of our food community is that it is in fact a community. While cutthroat competition can plague food cultures of other cities, Charlottesville, warts and all, is different. “The community really does function in an interconnected way,” Splendora’s PK Ross once explained. “And that has so much to do with the love that everyone has for what they are doing.”

I see this each week in Five Finds on Friday, when one member of the food community rejoices at the chance to showcase others. I see it in the way that the success of one stands on the shoulders of so many others. I see it in help the less fortunate among us receives to lift themselves up. I see it in the determination with which our food community feeds the hungry. And, most of all, I see it when someone has a need. Others rush to fill it.

Introducing Collaboration 29

And so, yes, when Reason Beer invited me to collaborate on a beer, much of my excitement stemmed from my fondness of beer and Reason. When I started this little website six years ago, I never imagined it might one day lead to making a beer with the former head brewer of Maine Beer Company, one of the country’s most acclaimed breweries. Just a year old, Reason has already earned its own national praise.

But, what made the invitation so special is the beer’s stated aim. The purpose, Reason said, would be to celebrate Charlottesville’s food and drink community — the very thing this site has done since its founding.

Later this month, Reason will release Collaboration 29 – “a juicy, tropical love letter to our home town, brewed in partnership with Beer Run, Murphy & Rude, Kardinal Hall and The Charlottesville 29.” At 5.5% ABV, Reason brewer Fulton describes Collaboration 29 as a “very sessionable IPA featuring a delicate blend of tropical, citrus, and pine notes.” Having sampled a test batch, I would describe it as delicious. Fulton says that he strives towards perfection, knowing he can never reach it, but hoping to get closer each time. Wow, this one may be as close as it gets.

What may sound like an odd group of collaborators, to Fulton made perfect sense. Fulton chose The Charlottesville 29, Beer Run, and Kardinal Hall because he wanted “to work collaboratively with some of our earliest supporters in Charlottesville.” Their support, he says, “has been incredibly helpful in establishing Reason Beer in the local beer scene.” Meanwhile, in true community spirit, the inclusion of new local malting company Murphy & Rude was to pay it forward. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to share the spotlight with another fantastic Charlottesville startup who also helps put our region on the craft beer map,” Fulton says.

Release events are planned later this month at Kardinal Hall (June 28), Beer Run (June 29), and Reason (June 30). Check back for details. Meanwhile, read on to learn how we made Collaboration 29. Thank you, Tm McGovern, for capturing the images.

The Collaboration

If you are not familiar with how beer collaborations work, they can run the gamut. In some cases, they are true collaborations, with brewers sharing and tweaking ideas, crafting a product together. In other cases, one brewer runs the the show, and they are little more than an excuse for folks to get together and talk about (and drink) beer. Ours was closer to the latter.

Yes, we all provided input. But, Fulton drove the process. This made sense. Fulton, after all, has brewed legendary brews like Mo, Lunch, and Dinner. I brew . . . coffee?

Still, Fulton did include us. The group’s initial idea, Fulton says, was “to create a drinkable summer IPA that will satisfy hop heads while not alienating the hop-adverse.” Next, Fulton asked me about my favorite hop varietals. I told him I am not sure I have a single favorite — I like so many — but I did name a few that appear in many of my favorite beers. The final hop profile includes Mosaic, Amarillo, and Simcoe.

To begin making Collaboration 29, we ran Murphy & Rude malt through a mill. Murphy & Rude is the area’s first malting company, creating malt from local grains. We used their Crystal 40, made of violetta barley from Brann & King Farms, and Wheat, made of soft red winter wheat from Bay’s Best farm.

reason1Reason2reason3

The milled malt was then transferred to a vessel called a “mash tun” where hot water was added, creating mash, something many brewers say is one of their favorite smells. I can see why. The heady aroma took me back to childhood memories of my father making warm malted milk from Horlicks.

Reason4

The milled malt sits in the hot water and creates wort. To the wort, we added salts and minerals to enhance sugar conversion and also aid the finished product by creating a more rounded mouthfeel and flavor profile, as well as better head construction and glass lacing.

reason5

Next, we removed a wort sample to test that the pH was the magic number we were looking for.

reason6

Meanwhile, a process called vorlauf circulated the liquid in the mash tun, running it off the bottom through pipes and circulating it back to the top, which helped to clarify the wort, removing malt sediment. A window in the piping allowed for monitoring the improving clarity.

Reason7

After the wort was sufficiently clear came runoff, diverting the wort from the mash tun to the kettle, where more hot water was added. This required turning on the heat in the kettle. It was a great thing I was there for this vital step. Here I am turning the switch from the “Off” position to the “On” position.

Reason17

Meanwhile, Fulton removed the leftover malt (“spent grain”) from the mash tun, which local farmers use as feed.

Reason9

In the kettle, the wort boiled for a hour.

There’s lots of down time during brewing. Fortunately, Devon kept our glasses full.

Reason13Reason14

And, there was plenty of time to talk over beer.

Reason15Reason16

Soon, it was back to work. We weighed out hops . . .

Reason10

. . . and added them to the kettle.

Reason11

Lots of hops.

Reason12

 

Finally, the wort was pumped from the kettle to a vessel called a fermenter. There, Fulton climbed high and added yeast to begin fermentation, transforming wort to beer.

Reason18

Next week, Fulton will add more hops to the beer – “dry-hopping.” And the following week, our beer will be ready. The dream team:

Reason100

Thank you to Mark Fulton and the Reason team for creating this project, the first and only beer named after The Charlottesville 29. It is a great tribute to the Charlottesville food and drink community. And, the beer is just outstanding. Stay tuned.

29beer

 

 

 

 

 

Five Finds on Friday: Jessica Hogan

jessica

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jessica Hogan of Farmacy, a health-focused food trailer coming soon that will showcase local and organic foods. While the trailer remains under construction, tomorrow morning at the Tom Tom Fest farmer’s market you can be the very first to enjoy a sneak preview, when Hogan and her boyfriend and business partner Gabino Gonzalez will be offering their breakfast tacos and burritos. Follow along here for updates. Hogan’s picks:

1) Buttermilk Pancakes at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “MarieBette is one of my favorite places to go, especially for breakfast. In my opinion it’s the only place to get good buttermilk pancakes with strawberries. Quality ingredients are what make the difference. Delicious!”

2) Chicken Salad at Feast! “Feast has many things I like, but my favorite is their organic chicken salad. It’s perfect on a salad or in their chicken salad sandwich made on fresh ABC ciabatta. It is the perfect consistency and spice and tastes great. I am also a fan of their concept – a grocery store supporting our local artisans and farmers. I am all about supporting local and eating organic food.”

3) Pupusas at Beer Run. “Sunday Brunch at Beer Run is amazing. I have worked there for five years and yet I have even chosen to have my birthday brunch at Beer Run before! Where else would I go? The food is local, organic, and incredible. The pupusas and the strata are two of my brunch favorites, but in all honesty you can’t go wrong any day of the week. It’s just so tasty, and is actually why I wanted to work there to begin with.”

4) Gnocchi with Truffled Mushroom Ragout at The Local. “The Local has great food,  and my favorite dish of theirs is gnocchi. Since I don’t eat beef, they are very accommodating and let me put their truffled mushroom ragout on them instead, and it’s absolutely lovely! I love that they use three kinds of mushrooms in it from Sharondale farm.”

5) Chocolate Praline Crunch Cake at Albemarle Baking Company. “Albemarle Baking Company has so many things I like. Hard to name a favorite. The chocolate praline cake is so moist and delectable, with its layers of chocolate and praline. It’s creamy and crunchy, and made with some of the finest ingredients.”