It probably would not come as a shock that it’s always been my dream to collaborate with some of our local breweries to create some awesome beers with the STL Hops “brand.” Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking. Had I known it would have been this easy to convince Steve Crider at 2nd Shift Brewing to work with the STL Hops gang to put together this beer, I would have done it a long time ago.
I’m honored to have 2nd Shift collaborate with us. I say this without any hyperbole that 2nd Shift may be my favorite brewery in St. Louis. They make unique and delicious beers and always have a lot of fun making these beers. The fact they worked with us makes this beer even more awesome.
As for picking the beer, I’m a huge fan of Wheatwines. I think it’s an underrepresented style that gives you the huge mouthfeel of a wheat beer with a generous dose of hops. Rather than try and muck around with creating a recipe myself, I leaned on STL Hops Supreme Overlord Troy Meier to develop a recipe.
Troy’s recipe is backloaded with Cascade and Centennial hops (two of my favorites) to give it a big citrus punch. Enjoy it now and get a hop bomb (would you expect anything less from 2nd Shift?) Or you can let it sit for a long time and let the malt shine through. You can make the beer anything you want it to be.
I named the beer “I Am Become Death.” The backstory is that when J. Robert Oppenheimer first saw the atomic bomb detonate for the first time he quoted the Bhagavad Gita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I wish I could say that I used this quote for some philosophical reason, but I didn’t. I picked it because it sounded cool.
The label was created by my friend Mike Atwood previously of Hoosier Beer Geek fame and now 38th in charge at Sun King Brewery. Mike wanted to not use any bomb imagery out of respect to those who lost their lives in war, which I completely agreed with. Instead he gave us this amazing label that I’m very proud of.
This beer will make its debut on draft at the STL Hops Anniversary Party tomorrow night and I can’t wait to try it. If it means anything to any of you, Steve Crider said this might be the best beer he’s ever brewed. That’s pretty high praise from a dude that is very critical of his own beers.
P.S. A bourbon barrel of I Am Become Death was filled and will be released sometime later this year.