Monday, October 11, 2010

Furthermore Hopperbolic Release Parties

All right. A few things to talk about here. The first of which is that Furthermore Beer is teaming up with Madison Beer Review for some release parties around Madison. MBR is only involved in the Madison-area shindigs, by the way.

Furthermore Hopperbolic Label
  Shitty Barn Parn - Official Release Party: Shitty Barn, Spring Green, Sat. Oct.23 from 6pm to 2am
Madison Release Party - High Noon Saloon, Madison, A Freakin' Halloweekend, Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, $8 cover, $7 with non-perishable food item.
Hoppy Hour: The Malt House, Madison, Nov. 3, 5pm to 7pm
Hoppy Hour: Sugar Maple, Milwaukee, Thursday, Nov. 4, 7pm to 11pm
Hoppy Hour: The Shed, Spring Green, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 5pm to 7pm
Hoppy Hour: Vintage Brewing Company, Madison, Thursday, Nov. 11, 5pm to 7pm
Hoppy Hour: Brasserie V, Madison, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 5pm to 7pm
Tasting: Star Liquor: Friday, Nov. 12, from 4pm to 7pm

So, what is Hopperbolic and why should you care?

So, we all know Furthermore. We're familiar with Knot Stock, Makeweight, Fatty Boombalatty, Thermo Refur, etc. etc. Except for Proper, a, um, proper English pale ale, Furthermore's Modus Operandi is to take a pale ale and add some weird shit to it (multiple yeast strains, cracked pepper, beets, apple cider, etc.). I've always likened it to modern culinary techniques and the "play with your food" aesthetic because it comes off far more polished than most beers with weird shit in them (pizza beer and blueberry lagers come to mind).

Tired of being known as the "weird, but good" brewery, Brewmaster Aran Madden set out to make a straight-up, honest to God, IPA. When this idea was in its infancy, the idea was to take 6 different hop strains and add them at 6 different times, or something like that. But as the beer evolved in the test kitchen, it became something a little different. You see, Furthermore, just down Highway 14 from Mazomanie, found out that they could source all of the hops for this beer from Gorst Valley.

The problem, however, is this: Gorst Valley is growing ridiculously fast. It can barely keep up with demand as it is. But Jim Altweis, and the fine folks at Gorst Valley are committed to Wisconsin craft beer and will go out of their way for Wisconsin craft brewers. So, they struck up a deal: Gorst Valley would find some hops for Furthermore, and Furthermore would basically take what they're given.

This is Hopperbolic. An IPA recipe that will change, evolve, and mutate over time based on the quantity and variety of hops that are available to Furthermore. It will only ever contain 100% Wisconsin-grown and processed hops. But those hops might be cascade, they might be Mt. Hood, they might be Northern Brewer, they might be Centennial. The first batch will contain Nugget, Cascade, and Mt. Hood varieties.

Hopperbolic will be a year-round release, so it is not, specifically, a fresh hop beer. [ed note: I was informed this morning that the first year will not be year-round, they don't have the hop quantities for it though, but it is planned to be year-round when availability permits] Though, admittedly, this first batch will be super fresh out of the fields and off the processing line. In keeping with the local ethics, Hopperbolic will only be available in Wisconsin. Supply will be dictated by the amount of hops that Furthermore can get, so this first release will be tap-only. If enough hops are available, the second batch could get bottled.

This post and the events MBR are helping out with are independent of the next announcement, but, in fairness, I do need to make this announcement.

Finally, this is the last that you will from me for a good amount of time about Furthermore Beer. As you all know, I am an attorney and do some amount of work (though not exclusively) in the brewing industry. That makes this blog a little different from most, I am not a writer by trade, and I don't write about things from a journalistic point of view. I write about the things I do because I find them interesting and, it turns out, most of you do too.

In any event, I have been asked to be on an Advisory Board for Furthermore Beer. This will be a temporary position (a couple of years or so) and unpaid position. Just so you know, an Advisory Board is not a Board of Directors. It's sort of like one, but an Advisory Board doesn't have any real authority. It just listens to and discusses issues and makes recommendations. The company is under no obligation to follow those recommendations. While this appointment does not cause a conflict for me legally, either with this site or for my other clients, I believe that it would cause a moral/ethical conflict for me on this site. And, to be honest, I almost turned it down because of the conflict that it would cause with Madison Beer Review.

I decided to accept it because, frankly, I like Furthermore Beer and they asked me to help. I don't see it as significantly different from journalists who assist breweries in recipe development, or brewhouse design, or any number of other "outside gigs" that we are often asked (and sometimes paid - whether "officially" or "unofficially") to take on. For this reason, I feel it will not be appropriate for me to write about or review Furthermore Beer - I just can't help but think, if I were in your position, that my views would be tainted or biased. I know a number of writers do not feel the need to make this disclaimer, but I feel that you can't trust me without transparency, because I wouldn't trust me if I didn't disclose this and later found out about it.

I may occassionally post Press Releases that I feel you might find interesting, and Matt or Travis might post reviews about Furthermore, but it will not be at my suggestion or instigation and I will have no part in the review or article. I may even, if confidentiality and with permission, of course, post about my experience on the Advisory Board since those who read Madison Beer Review for interesting bits of beer business insight might find that interesting. I'll keep you posted, but this will be it for a while.

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