Over and Under

One of the most common questions we get, in emails and in our Guided Tastings, is "What is your naming process for beers?". It's a difficult question to answer, as are most questions that require slightly embellished answers, and the truth is that there is no process. Though it would be much neater to explain that we begin with concepting, and from there we make storyboards, and after the storyboards have been circulated amongst the staff we come to an agreement, calmly and commemorated with high-fives.

But in truth, the 'concepting' is often taking place as two people bottle, shouting back and forth to each other over the cacophony of the air compressor, C02 purges, and clanking glass, and the 'storyboard' is less a physical place to write our ideas, but rather a fuzzy area that exists in our minds. One person might scream out, "WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT 'CAT LADY'?", while the other replies with "DID YOU SAY 'FAT BABY'?". Clarification comes in the few seconds of quiet between one fill cycle and the next, and as pallets get stacked higher and higher, so too does the urgency to settle on a name.

By the end of the day we gather around and tell each other that our ideas are stupid and naming a beer after a magical wolf or a mutant boy-shark will never work. And once the sting of trampled self-esteem begins to wear off, you eventually put your foot down, demand that the others agree with you, and a name is born.

It's on that note that I bring up Warp & Weft, our brett sour ale aged in tequila barrels, a name that actually has meaning beyond words that sound cool together, and our special beer release for the month of July. That's right, if my ridiculous riddle in the most recent newsletter left anyone in the dark, I'm happy to finally illuminate things for you. Some of you have never heard of this beer, and that makes sense as it's only been released a handful of times before, but I think a greater number of people want to know what that phrase even means.

Warp refers to the threads that run north-south in fabric, while Weft refers to the threads that run east-west. They are woven together to create cloth, something altogether greater than the sum of its parts. The name came about because we originally brewed a sour ale and then divided it, aging half in Chardonnay barrels, and half in Tequila. We felt the two beers 'shared a common thread', or were 'cut from the same cloth', but maintained distinctive personalities.

We've never brewed the Chardonnay version since, and now the name Warp and Weft has come to symbolize a lot of things. Of course it's a throwback to the origins of this recipe, but it's also a reference to any two disparate threads converging. Like tequila barrels and sour beer, the hungry yeast and fermentable sugars, or 7 hours to brew and 1 year to barrel-age.

Weaving imagery aside, W&W is the product of a mixed fermentation that utilized lactobacillus and saccharomyces, in addition to brett clausenii and lambicus. Pleasingly sour, it was aged in tequila barrels rich with personality for the duration of a year. What has emerged is citrusy and bright, somehow taking on all the complex flavours of tequila without the harsh alcohol heat. Subtle flavours of grapefruit, lime juice, aloe, agave, salt, and honey vie for a background role in this unique and positively delicious brew.

Warp & Weft goes on sale in bottles at 11am on Friday July 17th. There are just over 2000 bottles and a limit of 4 per person, $12/500ml BTL.

[This is a quick message to say that we do hear and listen to all the suggestions people give us on how we should conduct and change our bottle release days. We're aware that small releases can frustrate some people, as there is not enough volume to supply everyone who might show interest. We're working with the suggestions, but making executive decisions for ourselves, especially concerning things like the time of day and the bottle limits per person. With 2000 bottles we feel confident that this release should make it into Saturday (at least). The reality is, if we start selling the beer at 11 when we open, people are upset that 9-5ers are discriminated against. If we start selling the beer at 5pm when said people get off work, we deal with angry people arriving to the bottle shop to discover the special release is not yet available. If we release beers on the weekends we get complaints from people going to the cottage. If we release beers on the weekdays we get complaints from non-locals. If the bottle limit is 1 or 2 per person, out of towners don't feel the trip into Toronto is justified. If the bottle limit is 4 per person, people tell us that's audaciously high. Suffice to say, you can never please everyone but we are trying to please the largest number of people possible.

We work hard to make these long-term barrel beers, but ultimately they're just beer (albeit extra delicious beer). If you get a bottle, then enjoy it! If you don't, that's okay too and we'll see you at the next release.]