If you’ve been watching the beer section at Vine & Table over the last few months you may have noticed a particular new brew appear on the shelves. Last November we unveiled our first privately brewed beer, a Belgian Strong Ale with apricots that we dubbed “The Merchant of V&T.” The Merchant was the brainchild of your humble beer guy (David Helt) and Jason Wuerfel, owner/head brewer of local brewpub Books & Brews. The response to this collaboration has been incredible. In less than a month we sold through over half of our entire order, and bottles have been steadily making their way into customers’ hands ever since. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to taste this fantastic beer yet, I highly advise making a trip to pick up a bottle while we still have a few left.
We enjoyed the experience of customizing a beer so much we decided to do it all over again! In the coming months we will be releasing not one but two new brews from our Merchant of V&T collection. One must remain a surprise for now (though we will be dropping hints in the days to come) but “The Merchant of V&T, Volume 2” is ready to be announced. Coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day, the second Merchant will be a deliciously rich Chocolate Covered Cherry Milk Stout. Imagine all the essence of ripe bright cherries layered with the sweetness of delicate Swiss chocolate – that’s what this beer is about!
To celebrate this occasion, I thought it would be fun to take you behind the scenes for the making of our beer. While supervising the brewing of our Belgian ale was fun, I decided that this time I wanted to get my hands dirty. In fact, I was involved in all aspects of the brewing of this Stout. I grabbed a camera and fellow Vine & Table beer aficionado Zach Pratt and headed to the brewery to get started. When told of our plans the brewers at Books & Brews were kind enough to humor us. Start to finish you will see our efforts in this beer. From choosing the yeast strain to selecting and grinding the grain to stirring the mash, we lent a hand. We oversaw bringing the malty wort to a boil and when it came time to add the lactose to the brew to ensure a smooth mouth-feel and just a touch of Valentine’s sweetness, yours truly did the honors. When last we tasted the beer, we decided it needed a touch more cherry goodness, so that’s exactly what it got!
Like a great new book, we’ll have two launch parties to showcase the fruits of our labor. The first will be at Books & Brews (9402 Uptown Dr., Suite 1400) on Friday, February 13th from 5 – 7 pm, where we’ll tap the keg and be on hand to tell you more behind-the-scenes stories of the beer. Jason will also join us at a bonus event at Vine & Table on Saturday, February 14th, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm to show off the brew in his ever-popular bombers. Come out to see us at either event and discover what a little bit of love can do for a beer.