Motley Cru 2015: The Power Of The Blend


Next to the time of year when we can finally start illegally lawfully downloading new Game of Thrones episodes again, Motley Cru Day to commemorate our anniversary really tops the list of exciting events for us. The preparation is years in the making, the level of secrecy maintained is pervasive, and our anticipation in getting to share the wise, old beer is electric, spreading throughout the brewery infectiously.

The genesis of Motley Cru 2015 began 3 years ago. It's a beer that was in the works as we opened for our first day of business back in 2012, that was being closely monitored before we even had a bottle shop, and that we were testing and tasting on regimented schedule as we, Planet Earthians, traversed 3 complete orbits of the sun.

When we first started barrel-aging, or rather, tasting and pulling aged beer from barrels, things still felt relatively uncharted for us. Interesting, delicious beers were emerging, and it was rewarding to release those early batches of Farmageddon and Donkey Venom, but it seemed unlikely that we'd ever be able to recreate those unique styles again. We began to put more of a focus on our barrel-aging program, which meant that we quit being doorknobs and actually used computers to organize our findings rather than writing on the backs of receipts and invoices. As it turns out, organization is a super cool trick that helps businesses from descending into apocalyptic chaos. And in the interest of constantly improving our beers, we formalized our procedures for grading and tasting barrels, and became even more ruthlessly critical than before.

More structure helped us hone our ability to select a variety of barrels ranging in age, previous spirits housed, and microflora contained, that would yield the same spectrum of flavours we had created before. And then the thought occurred to us, if the whole slew of qualitative and quantitative scales that we rate our barrels on could be used to recreate the same beer twice, surely it could be used to do the opposite: to develop a delicious and unique beer that would never be created again. On our quest for consistency, we had stumbled upon the very nature of the Motley Cru series.

In blending a variety of barrel-aged beers you're able to craft a final beer that contains every flavour note and aromatic you love. And in harnessing a mosaic of wild yeast and bacteria strains over time, within the porous oak, that give us funky, tart, and sour flavours, you can craft beers that achieve complexities beyond that of regular brewer's yeast. Barrel-aging allows you to experiment with a new spectrum of delicious flavours; blending allows you to play favourites.

We're pretty jazzed about this year's blend, so let's do the requisite introduction. Muchachos, meet Motley Cru 2015 Anniversary Ale: Sour Red Ale Aged In Barrels With Ontario Pinot Noir Grapes. Our oldest beer to date, MC 2015 utilizes a blend of sour red ales in barrels that ranged in age from 1-3 years. A mix of wild yeast and bacteria strains lend brett-derived qualities of leather, cherry, and barnyard, and encourage lactic sourness with just a touch of acetic. The pinot noir grapes from Tawse winery were a no brainer to incorporate (stay tuned for an upcoming collaborative release with the winery that's already been in barrels for 2 years), imparting soft fruity flavours, and ascribing an element of Ontario terroir to the mix. There's rhubarb, oak, and cantaloupe in the aromatics, with a tantalizing hint of the acidity to follow. The flavour comes in layers, with notes of wild strawberry, rich oak, subtle spice, and sherry, that culminate in a decisive sourness that's well-rounded and pleasing without being mouth-puckering. The body is delicate and carbonation light, allowing the vast assembly of flavours to play centre-stage in this refined and drinkable beer. Bold characteristics of 'taking ourselves too seriously' are accented by nuanced tones of 'just taste it'. Finishes with strong notes of 'you won't regret it'.

Join us on Saturday, April 4th as we finally emancipate this beer from the depths of our barrels, out into the great unknown.

[Motley Cru 2015 goes on sale in the bottle shop at 11am on Saturday, April 4th. Bottles are $13, with a limit of 8 per/person. We'll be serving it from bottles in the brewpub, which opens at 11 as well, for the same price. This will be the last day of the season for Witching Hours, which will be in effect all day.]