Welcome to a special guest blog with Mike Goldfuss, Co-Founder of The Collective Brewing Project. Join us Friday, April 20 for the release of Doom Berry, a beer that caused Mike to take pause and think back on our time together.
I think I have written one blog in my life but I felt, with the upcoming release of Doom Berry the first of our Tears of Wood Series, that I should sit down and put my thoughts down on paper. We still use that, right? (Editor’s Note: No, no we don’t.). During the three and a half years we have been open we’ve produced over 60 beers and I am still shocked at the recipes Ryan comes up with. We started The Collective with the intention to make beers that we enjoy drinking and over the years have leaned heavily on farmhouse and sours designed around food, family and friends.
So, let’s get to the point, our new 3-part cherry beer series, Tears of Wood.
I can’t tell you exactly why this resonates with me, but the Heavy Metal/Doom themed artwork with cherry red wood tears just goes so well together. The first beer, Doom Berry, is a blend of 200 gallons of our Raspberry Petite Golden Sour, 200 gallons of our Wood Folk Mixed Culture Sour, and 800 pounds of Montmorency Cherries from New Jersey. I have had a bunch of cherry beers in the past and believe it is very difficult to make a great beer with them. Maybe it’s my palate, but cherry in beer tends to remind me of the cough medicine my mom used to force down my throat when I got sick as a kid. But, Doom Berry is a revelation; Montmorency cherries, raspberry, and the slight acidity that this beer has works so well together. Every year there is another beer that comes from somewhere in the depths of Ryan’s brain that just blows me out of the water. It started with Petite Golden Sour when we first opened, then Bourbon Barrel Bug Rye’d, Boysenbarrel, and last year, Pineapple Thai Basil PGS, which I never thought we could top. I was wrong. Doom Berry has made me realize that as we grow as brewers, as people, we keep learning and our creativity keeps expanding. We feed off of others. Although Ryan is the mastermind behind all of our creations, I know that we wouldn’t be making the beers we do without the knowledge, experience and input that all of our brewers, Ben, James and Zane, have shared over the years. They are constantly bouncing flavor combinations and ideas off one another and I believe that is a big part of why The Collective continues to evolve. It makes it hard to drink Doom Berry right now, knowing that this is the best beer we have ever made (my opinion, I am sure everyone has their own favorite) but also knowing that sometime in the future we WILL make another beer that steals the title for me. Will it be Shadow Walker? Number 2 in the Tears of Wood Series, which is Wood Folk on second use cherries. Will it be Doom Slayer, the last of the series, complete with 1600 pounds of cherries? Or something else Ryan and the rest of the guys haven’t even thought of yet? I have no idea, but I am looking forward to trying all comers and see what overtakes Doom Berry on my favorite beers list.
The life of a brewery owner can have its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, when I get to crack open a beer that all of our brewery family has put their blood, sweat and tears into, it takes me back to why I got into this business in the first place. After writing this all out, I think that is probably why Doom Berry means so much to me. I think of what all of our brewery family goes through to produce, sell, market, and pour our beers and think that it isn’t just the barrels bleeding red for us.