Tag Archives: collaboration

Interstate Love Song – Gigantic x S&O

Behind the Beer // Interstate Love Song

So how does a brewery from Portland and a brewery from New West get together to make beer? Well Interstate Love Song (like many collabs) started over beers. I first hung out with Gigantic co-owner and Head Brewer Ben Love at Farmhouse Fest 2018. What started out as a friendly couple beers ended with us eating DL Chicken Shack sandwiches and trying not to get the hiccups. From that point forward, a friendship was formed.

Our Head Brewer Eric went down to Portland for a thing and popped into Gigantic to chat with Ben. Ben thought it’d be cool and very BCish to brew something with oysters. Eric said “Oyster Pilsner!” (Eric wants to make everything into a Pilsner) Ben has a chocolate supplier that he loves called Woodblock and with the release being in winter it was agreed that a Chocolate Oyster Stout may be a safer way to go. Once back in BC we met with Scotty the Big Shucker who was fired up about the collab and recommended some oysters from Desolation Sound.

Interstate Love Song has 60lbs. of cocoa nibs in it. About one pound of chocolate per 50L of beer. 300 whole Desolation Sound oysters went into the boil to give ISL a bit of brininess and minerality. If you haven’t had an Oyster Stout before don’t be scared (unless you’re allergic), this beer doesn’t actually taste like shellfish. The flavour profile is more in line with salted chocolate.

It was rad having Ben and his wife Andrea up for the brew day and we would love any excuse to brew with Gigantic again!

Behind the Design // Interstate Love Song

Interstate Love Song was originally going to be called Contains Shellfish. Buuuut I got a little pushback so we thought ISL was a creative name playing off of the Interstate that joins us, Love being Ben’s last name and the fact that this beer is made with some aphrodisiacs and will be launched Valentines Day, and finally, it’s a sweet Stone Temple Pilots song!

Here is my full brief to our designer Sami:

“What I’d like to do is for all 650ml bottle designs (including bottle collabs now) stick with the diamond shape label. I feel that the consistency on the shelf looks good. However, much like the regular collab labels we were doing before I think the interior of the diamond can be anything. It doesn’t need to follow the regular format of all other diamond labels. So it can really be anything you want, inside of that diamond shape. Gigantic is from Portland and has a very comic book feel to all of their stuff.”

If you had a look at our designer Sami’s S&O Instagram takeover you’ll actually be able to watch her design one of the versions of this label. The options I was sent are below and here are Sami’s explanations for each.

“Option 1: Working with a retro comic book texture in the label to represent the Gigantic side of the design. I’ve kept it black and white to keep it feeling sort of grunge like the song.
Option 2: Sort of an abstract play of a highway going into the distance (also a play on the song)
Option 3: Probably the most conceptual of the 3 but creating an icon that feels like a music note/highway sign and when they come together they make a heart ;)”

 

ISL OptionsWe decided to go with Option 1 but threw some colour at it. I think Sami did a great job of still keeping the font based vibe we use for S&O while adding a bit of that comic book feel that Gigantic is known for.

We’re really excited about this beer and hope that you dig it too. Unless you’re allergic to shellfish, then don’t dig this beer at all please.

-Jorden

Steinbier Collaboration With Freigeist

A while ago I wrote about our VCBW Collaboration and how I didn’t entirely agree with Stephen Smysnuik of The Growler BC on collabs being a regular brew day.

Stephen should have attended this collab.

We partnered up with Sebastian Sauer of Freigeist Bierkultur out of Germany to make an old world Steinbier. Here’s how it went down (note I’ve taken a lot of liberties with this as my memory isn’t as good as it used to be).

  • April 2nd: I’m in a Ford Winstar van with Ben Coli (Dageraad), Mike Coghill (Yellow Dog) and Adam Henderson (Copper & Theory) driving from Calgary to Edmonton. I say “Hey Adam, I’d like to do a collab with one of the breweries you import.” Adam says, “You should do one with Freigeist. They’re German, you pretend to be German when it suits you, I think it’d be awesome.” A high-five is given waking Mike up who had been sleeping on Ben’s shoulder. He’s a cuddler.
  • April 4th: I tell the guys we’re doing a collab with Freigeist. Our brewer Eric jumps for joy, our Operations Manager Brian scowls at me as once again I’ve agreed to a collab with no tank space to do it in.
  • May 1st: “Let’s do a Steinbier” says Eric. I say, “A what now?” Eric explains to me that a Steinbier is made by heating up rocks super hot and running wort over it creating an intense boil and a lot of steam.  “It sounds super dangerous, let’s do it!”
  • May 2nd: We run the idea by Sebastian from Freigeist. Sebastian suggests we do a Gose instead as it would be less dangerous. About 5 minutes later ever brewery in BC comes out with a Gose so we decide to live dangerously. *Disclaimer: I love Gose and I’ve enjoyed a lot of great ones brewed in BC this summer, that sentence was used purely for entertainment purposes.
  • May 25th: We decide that the easiest way to get the Steinbier effect is heat up granite rocks in old kegs that we’ve cut holes into. We can then move the kegs into a vessel and pump the wort into that vessel and then back out again. Simple!
  • July 24th (9:00am): Brew Day. I go grab some coffee and meet up with the guys at the brewery. We begin heating the rocks in the kegs over a propane burner. Eric has a neat temperature gun. I hope it’s not expensive.
  • July 24th (11:00am): Sebastian brought some crazy beers and it would be impolite to not start drinking them.
  • July 24th (11:01am): Eric reminds us that we should probably do the forklift driving and all the hot rocks stuff before drinking. That’s why he’s also the Safety Manager.
  • July 24th (12:13pm): Eric lifts the hot rock kegs up with our forklift and Sebastian guides them into Pacific Breeze’s tank with an oven mitt. That’s right, an oven mitt. We all sigh with relief as the rocks are in the vessel and no one has died yet.
  • July 24th (12:30pm): Eric yells at Chardonnay to start the pump and we all lean over the tank watching the wort run and caramelize over the hot rocks. Steam builds, Sebastian says “who’s stupid idea was this?” we all laugh, drink more beer, and let Chardonnay deal with the rest of the work.

We’re super excited about this collab and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it! Thanks to Sebastian at Freigeist for coming by to brew with us. If you’re ever making a trip to Germany definitely pop into Freigeist Bierkultur.

The Steel & Oak x Freigeist Steinbier collab will be released on September 8th in our Tasting Room and shipping out to select liquor stores shortly thereafter.

-Jorden

 

Camaraderie and Kindness in Beer

Anytime I do an interview the same question always gets asked. “You guys all seem like friends in the beer industry, even though you are technically in competing businesses. What’s that all about?”

As I’m writing this it’s been just 20 hours since I received the news that our Head Brewer Eric was hit by a semi truck while cycling in Portland with his girlfriend.  Eric is okay (as is his girlfriend Andrea). I always hate writing a lead in sentence like that knowing that people’s hearts might sink a touch before realizing that the worst case scenario didn’t happen, but I really didn’t know how else to put it. Apologies.

Eric was airlifted to a hospital in Portland (I’m not sure which one) but never lost consciousness. From chatting with Andrea (I haven’t spoked to Eric yet) he has “messy breaks in his leg” and will need multiple surgeries as well as skin grafts.  But he’s okay. He’s alive. Which is something you don’t get to say a lot when you hear “semi truck” and “bicycle” in the same sentence.

Luckily we have 2 incredibly well trained and talented brewers that will pick up the slack. For those of you not in the biz a Head Brewer’s job is less hands on and more management; ingredient ordering, scheduling, budgeting and other long term items rather than the day to day process of making the beer. On the outside you won’t notice a difference, Steel & Oak’s beers won’t change while Eric recovers. My admin workload is now a lot heavier but hey that’s what owning a small business is all about.

But back to the original point of this post. Since Eric’s accident I’ve received numerous emails from craft breweries around the lower mainland asking how they can help. “Can we send you a brewer to take some of the workload off?” “Do you want me to swing by on the weekend and clean your kegs so your brewers don’t have to work 6 days a week?” “How can we support you?” I bet there isn’t one craft brewery in BC that wouldn’t offer up help of some sort when another brewery is in need.

And that’s what I love the most about this industry. We are all running small businesses where little things have a larger impact on us than at Molson or Labatts. There is a camaraderie around that. We want to see our friends succeed. We hurt when they hurt, we feel joy when they do. That’s what it’s like when you are part of something bigger than a bunch of small businesses working independently. That’s what it’s like when you are part of a family.  And that’s one thing the macro breweries will never have on us. They spend time trying to figure out how to beat each other while we spend time helping and encouraging each other so that we can grow our industry collectively.

I want to thank all the breweries that have already offered us their support. I’m so happy to be in an industry with such fantastic and kind people who would work an 80 hour week (at another business!) if it meant helping a friend in need, and I’m thankful that our Head Brewer will eventually get to create beer again.

Hug a brewer today.

-Jorden