Calicraft Brewing Company - Reserve Series Rosé

Calicraft Brewing Company - Reserve Series Rosé

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Starting from:

$47.95

Style:

Strong Sparkling Ale w/ Zinfandel Must & Raspberries

Country:

United States

Bottle size:

750-ml

Alcohol by Volume:

10.5%

Quantity:

Calicraft Brewing Company - Reserve Series Rosé

  • Alcohol by Volume: 10.5%
  • Bottle Size: 750-ml
  • Serving Temperature: 45–52° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Flute or Chardonnay Glass

As one of our two featured offerings this month, we’ve been looking forward to getting this special, exclusive release from Calicraft Brewing Co. out to our members. We featured their sparkling ale Buzzerkeley a few years back, and the highly positive response to that beer had us wanting to circle back again at the next good opportunity. Well... that good opportunity’s finally presented itself. The earliest samples we had of the brewery’s rare Reserve Series Rosé proved to be precisely what we were looking for—an exceptional demonstration of what the brewery’s been able to do with Champagne and wine yeasts, plus some fantastic special additions, that make for a transcendent beer experience we can’t imagine getting from anywhere else.

The bulk of this bottling of Calicraft’s Reserve Series Rosé has been allocated for Rare Beer Club members, with any remaining bottles to be sold out of the brewery’s tasting room and, if a sufficient amount’s left over, a small handful of select Bay Area bottle shops. This beer’s an extension of the original Buzzerkeley, building upon the core question that focuses much of Calicraft’s efforts: If beer had been invented in California, what might it look like? Here, their approach to the question involves raspberries, cherries and California Zinfandel grapes.

Reserve Series Rosé pours a slightly hazy, copper-orange color with reddish tints, with those effervescent, miniscule bubbles resulting in a sturdy off-white foam that persists. We poured our samples into a Champagne flute, as suggested, and we’d be hard-pressed to find a better vessel for this particular beer. The core aromatics are a generous combo of ripe raspberries, strawberries and candied grapes, with a subtle core caramelization adding a really interesting gloss. There’s boldly expressed fruit, chewy emergent maltiness, and a hint of white pepper.

Should you happen to have a bottle of Buzzerkeley on hand, we would definitely be inclined to try these two beers side by side. Everything from the aroma and more is realized here, as a beautifully developed malt underpinning offers a caramelized edge for its precise showing of core fruit. There’s a massive impact from that raspberry addition, integrated perfectly beside the other fruit components but still leading the charge, and the overall character here had us thinking of classics involving raspberries and easygoing caramel, like Kuhnhenn’s Raspberry Eisbock and aged examples (we rarely have such patience...) of New Glarus Raspberry Tart.

And still... This beer carves out a unique place for itself. Quiet wine-yeast contributions help to carefully amplify the overall fruit impressions, while there’s an underpinning of vanilla and sourdough that continuously points back to those pillowy core yeast qualities of Buzzerkeley. We fell in love with this beer, and it lands in style terrain that we rarely have the opportunity to explore—proving refreshing while packed with a perfect malt structure and vibrant fruit.

The brewery suggests cellaring the Reserve Series Rosé for up to two years, but recommends checking it out fresh. This beer starts especially fruit forward, emphasizing the vibrancy of its special additions, though you can expect it to become more malt-centric with a bit of time in the cellar, with additional notes of caramel and dried cherries steering things away from that initial wine-like approach. The earliest batch of this beer is holding up well at 18 months old, so its aging potential beyond that remains unexplored. For pairing options, definitely look to chocolate and/or fresh raspberries as an easy option. The brewery suggests this will also fare quite well with many traditional rosé pairings, accompanying lighter salads or grilled seafood.

Calicraft Brewing Co., in Walnut Creek, California, may be a completely new name for many of our members. The brewery’s been around for a bit over five years, opening up in May of 2012. It’s the only brewery we can think of that started with a sparkling ale as its flagship.

(And that one’s a pretty magnificent sparkling ale…)

The original prototype for what later became their flagship beer, Buzzerkeley, was first brewed in a UC Berkeley dorm room, back when Blaine was 19 years old. The name of the impromptu brewery itself: Buzzerkeley Brewing Company. It basically existed in his dorm kitchen under cover of night. That initial batch began its fateful journey as a Duvel clone with California Starthistle honey, the initial results of which ended up far too sweet. Being pre-internet and homebrew forums, Blaine asked around, trying to save the batch. Someone suggested trying Champagne yeast.

The original prototype for what later became their flagship beer, Buzzerkeley, was first brewed in a UC Berkeley dorm room, back when Blaine was 19 years old. The name of the impromptu brewery itself: Buzzerkeley Brewing Company. It basically existed in his dorm kitchen under cover of night. That initial batch began its fateful journey as a Duvel clone with California Starthistle honey, the initial results of which ended up far too sweet. Being pre-internet and homebrew forums, Blaine asked around, trying to save the batch. Someone suggested trying Champagne yeast.

So… Blaine went into town and bribed someone to buy him Champagne yeast. As tends to be the case, the bribed individual didn’t end up being the most diligent of shoppers, and he ended up buying the wrong kind of Champagne yeast. Beggars can’t be choosers, so Blaine pitched it anyway. The result, somehow, ended up as one of the best beers he’d ever tried.

Fast-forward 15+ years, through iteration upon iteration of figuring out how that first batch worked and perfecting others. Key details include: (1) honey variety makes a huge difference and (2) fermenting with Belgian Trappist yeast and Champagne yeast separately also makes a big swing in the final flavor profile. Today, their final version of Buzzerkeley is actually done in two batches: one with a Belgian strain, the other with a Champagne yeast, blended one-to-one. Those two details made a huge difference in rediscovering the magic of that first batch.

Currently, Zac explains, “We’re trying to push the boundaries of beer styles using California-sourced ingredients.” Other highlights include their The City IPA, created with nine varieties of hops as well as California blackberry root and orange peel bitters, and Chez Panisse, their collab with Alice Water’s famous Berkeley establishment using organic anise hyssop, Meyer lemon leaf, and lemon verbena blossom. This month, we’re excited to be able to offer up an exclusive release from Calicraft to our Rare Beer Club members, and the latest addition to the brewery’s family of finely tuned sparkling ales—the rare Calicraft Reserve Series Rosé.

For those of you living in or visiting the Bay Area, Calicraft just opened up their taproom in Walnut Creek in 2016, which includes a variety of hoppy and sparkling-ale highlights pretty much at all times—along with as wide a selection of bottled sparkling ales as you’re likely to find. For the latest Calicraft hours, info and release news, head over to www.calicraft.com.

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