Last year we shipped wine grapes to almost 100 breweries across the US and Canada!
They say beer was invented and wine was discovered. The first evidence of brewing dates back to 7000 BC China, where residues from a jar indicate a fermented beverage that contained rice, honey, and fruit (likely grapes). So some of the first beers brewed were probably made with grapes.
The first evidence of deliberate winemaking comes from Georgia (not the state) in 6000 BC. Those early winemakers chose to use grapes because grapes offer the rare combination of being both high in sugar and high in acid which creates a more potent and more durable beverage. Modern winemakers have learned to use to grape skin contact during fermentation to extract desired colors and tannins.
TLDR: Wine grapes are nature’s perfect fermenter and are ideally suited for brewing beers in the fastest growing categories of the beer market.
The same qualities that make grapes the perfect fruit for making wine with also make grapes the perfect fruit for brewing beer with. The high sugar content increases your brew’s potential ABV. The high acidity increases freshness and sourness. And fermenting on grape skins offers more color and intensity of mouthfeel.
But in the 1500’s the Bavarians passed the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Act) and fruit beers have not been very popular ever since. Luckily that’s all changing and brewers are venturing away from the traditional barley, water, and hops recipe. In fact, “Sour Beer” and “Other Beer” were the two fastest growing categories of beer sales from July 2017 to July 2018 according to Nielsen data.
Sour Beer sales grew over 40% in that period and have ample room for growth. Other Beer sales grew 11%. Fruit beers fit neatly into
both those categories and are poised for even more growth in 2019. The third fastest category of growth in the beer market was in IPA, which has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. Wine grapes also happen to complement IPA’s perfectly as the bitterness imparted by the hops is balanced out by the sour and sweet and nature of wine grapes.
We’re looking forward to seeing all of you brewers again in Denver this April at the 2019 Craft Brewers Conference!
Brewing Barrel Aged Sours with Wine Grapes
Barrel aged sour beers brewed with grapes are one of the fastest growing beer styles in America. Wine Grapes Direct is proud to supply these premier breweries with 100% Vinifera grape must and juice, never from concentrate.
BullFrog Brewing (PA): Brewmaster Nate Saar was our first brewing client and is one of the most decorated Brewmasters in the US. RateBeer.com lists Bullfrog in their top 100 breweries worldwide out of over 25,000 listings. The original Le Roar Grzzz Druiven is a brewed with Milla Merlot grapes and is a rare 100- point scoring beer on RateBeer.com, making it the highest rated sour brew in America.
- Le Roar Grzzz Druiven (made with Milla Merlot)
- Le Roar Grzzz (made with Durell Syrah and Sonoma Merlot)
- Le Roar Grzzz (made with Clarksburg Chenin Blanc)
Green Flash Cellar 3 (CA) You all know about Green Flash. What you might not know is that they have an additional 12,000 square foot brewery called Cellar 3 that is dedicated to making Best of Class barrel-aged brews. The only down side about Barrelmaster Pat Korn’s beers from Cellar 3 is that they tend to sell out within an hour of release. But if you know the right people…
- Future release brewed with Durell Syrah
Great Notion (OR) No West Coast brewery received more press or praise over the past year than Great Notion. They were featured in Beer Advocate, Imbibe, Taste, Bon Appetite and Food and Wine just to name a few. Their limited release Ambrosia is a barrel-fermented tart saison aged on Chenin Blanc. Oh, and it won best of show at the Willamette Week Pro-Am.
- Ambrosia (made with Clarksburg Chenin Blanc)
Reaver Beach Brewing (VA) Kristin and Justin Macdonald founded Reaver Beach Brewing in 2010 after serving in the US Air Force. The wild coastal yeasts and bacteria of Virginia Beach provide a unique environment for producing barrel-aged sour ales. Follow them on social media to make sure you don’ t miss out on their limited releases!
Yazoo Brewing (TN) Yazoo was a home brew project that began in the early 90’s and turned into Nashville’s preeminent beer destination. Since moving into their state of the art 40 barrel brewery in 2010, Yazoo has teamed with renowned sour beer writer, Brandon Jones, to create the “Embrace the Funk” line up of sour and barrel aged brews.
Dunedin Brewing (FL) Stations of the Craft is a collaborative brewing project started by the good people of the Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s first craft brewery. Their brews are not for the faint-hearted. “This is Your Captain Speaking” features two sour beers made from the same Blonde ale base. The “Donald” was aged on our Pinot Noir must and “The Hilary” was aged our Chenin Blanc.
- This is Your Captain Speaking, Trump Barrel (Durell Pinot Noir)
- This is Your Captain Speaking, Clinton Barrel (Chenin Blanc)
Gravity Brew Lab (FL) “The brainchild of owner Diego Ganoza, Gravity Brew Lab is designed to be the answer to the question Miami has been asking for the past several years: “why can’t we have creative, top quality, locally made craft beer; like most other metropolitan cities in the U.S.?” – Gravity Brew Lab
Trillium Brewing (MA) “Trillium Brewing Company was established on the values of family, passion, and dedication. Celebratory ales were first crafted to commemorate the marriage of founders JC and Esther Tetreault. This initial concept evolved into a lifestyle and dream to share, not only beer, but experiences with one another and their community.” – Trillium Brewing
- Future release brewed with Chenin Blanc