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Way back in 2010 a small group of us met in the basement of the now shuttered Mattingly Brewing Company for an event our friend Drew Huerter dubbed Big Black Beer Bash. Before the scene took off and well before bottle shares were commonplace, Big Black Beer Bash was an event to share some of the biggest blackest beers from our “cellars.” In 2011, with Mattingly Brewing having closed and Drew moving on, we moved the event to the patio of iTap Soulard on a Sunday afternoon.

The event swelled to a much larger group of like-minded beer folks sharing beers. Part of that crew that day was this guy named Cory King. At the time he was working behind the bar at iTap and none of us really realized what was to come. For a couple of years the event was moved to Perennial Artisan Ales to handle the influx of the growing scene. Fast forward to Cory and Karen starting Side Project. Cory approached us about having a smaller version of BBBB at the new Side Project Cellar in early 2015. It was one hell of a party, but the constraints of The Cellar’s size didn’t allow us to host as many folks as before.

After a year off, we’re happy to announce that we are ready to bring back Big Black Beer Bash. Cory and Karen have graciously offered up the new brewery space for the event. I’ll let Cory tell you more:

What: The Big Black Beer Bash 2017. The BBBB was started by our friend Drew Huerter, formerly of Mattingly’s and then of Schlafly, where a small group gathered in the basement of Mattingly’s to sip on bottles of big stouts, porters and barleywines during the coldest parts of the winter. After a short hiatus, we would love to bring the tradition back of opening those dusty, huge beers, that are ripe for sharing.

Where: Side Project Brewing – 7458 Manchester Road Maplewood MO 63143

When: Friday, February 10th from 4pm to 8pm

Who: Anyone who wants to attend that can bring a big beer to share! (no cost to come, but you MUST bring at least 1 bomber or 750mL to share)

Why: Because these are the best bottles for bottle shares ;).

The brewery will not be open, we will just be using the facility for the bottle share and the restrooms. No glassware will be provided. Please bring everything you would need, as if this bottle share was outside in some remote location. You can bring your own food. Just please respect our place, clean up after yourself and see you in February!

Cheers,
Cory King

If you have attended this event in the past you know it’s a great time. If you haven’t, we invite you to what we believe is one of the better bottle shares you’ll attend. So here’s to Drew Huerter and here’s to sharing some Big Black Beers. See you there!

sideprojectcellar“The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry”, of course I’m paraphrasing Scottish poet Robbie Burns. His version is a bit more Scottish-y.

When Boulevard Brewing’s Brewmaster Steven Pauwels reached out to Cory and Karen King of Side Project Brewing about doing a collaboration beer, the plan had been to release the beer as a Boulevardia exclusive. This would be a beer created just for this special festival with a few kegs making their way to St. Louis exclusively for the Side Project Cellar.

But, there was a problem. Once the beer was created and ready to go, the label approval process was backlogged. What normally would have been a 21-day turn around turned into a 45-day fiasco. The beer meant for the patrons of Boulevardia unfortunately did not make it to the event.

Now that the legal mumbo jumbo has been cleared up, it’s time for the beer’s debut.  Boulevard and Side Project will; be hosting the first of two events on September 8th beginning at 4PM at the Side Project Cellar in Maplewood.

Steven Pauwels and Cory King will be on-hand to debut this special beer. Boulevard will be hosting their own event on September 10th in their tasting room (for those of you who want to make the road trip or are already in the KC area.)

The Show-Me Sour is a 4% ABV, Belgian-style, dark table beer created by blending a whiskey barrel-aged version and fresh version of the beer.  Side Project will be featuring a few other Boulevard goodies this evening including the always wonderful Saison-Brett (2015) and Hibiscus Gose.

sideprojectcellarTo say there has been a fever pitch of excitement about Cory and Karen King’s newest venture, Side Project Cellar, is under-selling it a bit. This is easily one of the most exciting beer projects opening in not only St. Louis, but also the United States.

I’m often accused of being prone to hyperbole, but that last statement is nothing of the sort. Cory and Karen have put together one of the finest locations to have a beer in the area. One of the unique things that sets Side Project apart is their treatment of draft beer.

For starters, Cory King has created a draft system of 24 taps that will pour eight of each of those beers at three distinct temperatures. It’s only one of three places in the United States (that I know of, feel free to prove me wrong) that’s pouring beers in this fashion.

Why is this so important? Certain beers should be poured at certain temperatures to properly pour and enjoy the beer. The draft system Cory designed allows for perfect pours at perfect temperatures almost every time. It’s a unique process that allows you to immediately enjoy your beer.

It’s some of the little touches that will set Side Project apart like Karen King’s choice of glassware. Not unlike the draft system, they’ve spared no expense. Karen has chosen not only the appropriate shaped glass, but also the best quality glass she could find.

Couple this with the lambic baskets (did you know you shouldn’t tip that lambic bottle vertical after you started pouring?) Cory and Karen sourced for their unique beers and you’ll see this is a place where beer comes first.

For those of you that aren’t beer lovers (and what are you doing here?) or looking for something else they’ve also put together a list of whiskey and wine that will make your tongue happy as well. Here is your first look at the draft list:

Served at 52°F
Side Project Saison du Blé
Side Project Grisette
Blaugies / Hill Farmstead Collaboration La Vermontoise
De Struise Pannepot 2012
De La Senne Zinnebir
De Ranke Guldenberg
Liefmans Cuvée-Brut
De Molen Hemel & Aarde (Bourbon Barrel)

Served at 46°F
Perennial Saison de Lis
New Belgium / Perennial Collaboration Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout
Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela
Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Ale
Evil Twin / Sante Adairius Collaboration Joey Pepper
Mikkeller Arh Hvad?! (Grand Marnier Barrel)
Boulevard Tank 7
Deschutes Nitro Jubelale Ale

Served at 40°F
Kulmbacher Mönchshof Schwarzbier
Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils
Schlafly Kölsch
2nd Shift Hibiscus Wit
Civil Life American Brown
Goose Island Matilda
Deschutes Hop Trip
Sierra Nevada Celebration

Here are a couple of photos courtesy of Side Project and Tim Bottchen:

 

Side Project Cellar, located at 7373 Marietta in Maplewood, officially opens their doors tomorrow at 3PM. Hours will be 3-10PM Tuesday-Thursday and 12PM-11PM Friday and Saturday.

SideProject_TheOrigin_750ml_v1 copyRumors are a real pain. It’s one thing to start them, it’s another thing to continue to perpetuate them. Over the past couple of months a few people on the popular beer websites have started putting out the idea that Side Project Brewing‘s initial release The Origin was “infected.”

Rather than just shoot off at the mouth, Side Project owner Cory King decided to have the beer tested to verify what he thought he knew all along, that this beer wasn’t infected. Cory posted on the STL Hops forums the results of that testing.

So…

I want to first start by saying,

THE ORIGIN IS NOT INFECTED.

Most of you know me personally and know that I am usually pretty quick to post on here to clear up any confusion, answer any questions, or to stop any rumors before they grow out of control. With that said you might wonder why it has taken me a while to respond to this post…

At Side Project, I try to make sure that I am brewing the best beers that I possibly can. Not only that, I love to age the beers as long as they need, release them when they are ready to drink and to make sure that I am 100% proud and approve of what I am selling to you. A lot of you have spent many hours and your hard earned money acquiring Side Project beers, and I cannot thank you enough for your support and in return I want to always supply you with the info that you want and the quality that you expect.

The first person to send me a message about The Origin did so about a month ago, asking if it was possible that The Origin was infected. I replied that anything is possible, as it is, and that I would work to make them happy because I hadn’t any hard proof whether it was or was not. I just assumed that this was an isolated incident and moved on. Until someone on BA reviewed it as infected. (actually several people gave it low ratings, but they were all on the same day, from the same state, so I assumed the same tasting group and the power of suggestion had taken over all of their palates).

This though did affect me and my heart sank. I was really worried and concerned that I had misrepresented Side Project and released something that was not of the high standards that I hold myself. Even though I don’t have a lab, I trust my palate and knew that that beer coming from the barrel was 100% and ready to sell. I thought that something had happened during bottle conditioning, so I immediately started trying to figure out how to address this.

I started looking into labs and reached out to some friends at Schlafly to see if they could lend a hand. I want to thank Schlafly for offering their services to me, I cannot thank them enough for the news that they gave me today ;). I never believed that it was infected, but I needed the proof to be content.

The Origin is not infected.

Even though its not infected, it sucks that all it takes is one person to post it online and now people are questioning it. I can defend myself and my beers on here, but I cannot reply to people reviewing The Origin as infected, and all it takes is one palate to prematurely cry infection to cause a whole stir among the beer community of the other forums. The damage is done and I cannot fix that… I just wanted to let you know that I wanted to wait until I knew based on hard facts whether or not anything was going on in the beer before I replied to concerns addressed here and I hope that you understand.

So, what is going on? The Origin does taste different now then the draft version during the release. The bottle also taste different than the bottle I opened the day before the release. The Origin is a blend of 3 beers that are now over 2 years old. All of my beers are unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle conditioned. They are living and will change with age. I released the beer ready to drink fresh and it is your choice to hold it, age it and let it change if you wish. How will it age? I have no idea. What should it taste like now? I have no idea. Am I still happy with it? ABSOLUTELY.

I had expected the blend to taste more like it does now then what it tasted like during the release, but either way, I love both how it tasted then and how it tastes now. I stressed the fact that this was a blended beer by adding the neck tag to every bottle, but I unfortunately believe that because the label says “imperial stout” that too many people are having a preconceived notion of what they want it to taste like before they taste it, and thus the age and flavors are confusing some.

Being that there are only 186 bottles, all from one barrel, all bottled within a few hours of each, all through 1 beer line and 1 beer gun, the likelihood of an isolated “infected” bottle is zero to none. This beer, as well as most of my beers, will need to be consumed with an open mind, an openness to styles and more of an approach of “do I like this, the balance and the complexities” as opposed to “does this fit a certain style”

Sorry for the very long response, but I didn’t want to stop until I felt like I had adequately defended not only the integrity of Side Project, but also mine as a brewer and business owner…

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time at my email: Cory@SideProjectBrewing.com. Thank you everyone for the support that you have shown me and I hope that you have loved my beers as much as I have loved brewing and sharing them.

THE ORIGIN IS NOT INFECTED…

Cheers.

The problem we have here is groupthink. My guess is that you have a few people who are unfamiliar with aged beer (and the flavors associated with it) and the sherry/oxidized flavors that come from it and automatically assume that the beer is infected. This is going to remain a problem as craft beer becomes more and more popular and you then have more new people learning about beer.

The important thing is that bottle of Origin you may have in your basement is fine and feel free to drink away (or save it for a rainy day.)

SideProject_WHT_HRZI’ve often said this, but one of the things I enjoy most about creating STL Hops is the friendships I’ve gained because of it. It’s amazing how big my circle of friends has become in the past six years. One of those friendships that I cherish is that of Cory and Karen King.

My favorite part of my friendship with Cory is not that he helped get me my job at Lohr (though I’m eternally grateful of that) but that him and I will argue about beer (and other things) until the cows come home. We’re men of strong opinions and we’re happy to let people hear them, so putting us in a room together can almost seem contentious at times.

But the thing I admire about Cory is that he never holds my stupid opinion or stupid arguments to heart. We may tussle, but it’s water off a duck’s back after it’s over. So, I’m proud and very happy that I announce that my friend’s brewery, Side Project Brewing will be releasing his first three beers:

The Origin (available in 750mL bottle format)
14.3% ABV

The Origin is a blend of Imperial Stout, Black Oatwine and Baltic Porter that was aged for 20 months in a Rittenhouse Rye barrel with Madagascar Vanilla Beans. It is our Batch #1, Barrel #1 and our first release. It is never to be brewed again.

Saison du Fermier (available in 750mL bottle format)
7% ABV

Saison du Fermier is a Chardonnay barrel-fermented Saison. It is the harmony of new and old. It is robust and has the paler color of modern Saisons, yet it is balanced with the brightness, depth and rustic character of Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus found in traditional Saisons. This farmhouse ale was fermented in and aged in wine barrels for several months.

Brett Project #1 (available in 750mL bottle format)
6% ABV

Our Brett Project series is the exploration of how single strains of Brettanomyces ferment and condition a Saison malt bill. Each Brett Project will be fermented in and aged in wine barrels with a different Brettanomyces strain to showcase its unique characteristics. Brett Project #1 showcases a Brettanomyces strain isolated by our friend at BKYeast from Cantillon.


Without a doubt, these first three beers will be extremely sought after. So, you’re probably wondering where you can get them. Well, you’re going to have visit Perennial Artisan Ales (the current home of Side Project Brewing) on September 28th at 12PM when they open.

And if you’re looking into a deeper peek into Cory’s mind, here’s some beers we can expect in the near future:

Saison du Blé – Chardonnay barrel-aged Wheat Saison
Brett Project #1 with Lactobacillus
Brett Project #2 – Drie Fonteinen Brettanomyces
Brett Project #2 with Lactobacillus
Fuzzy – Blonde American Wild Ale fermented in Chardonnay barrels and aged with Missouri White Peaches
Blueberry Flanders – Flanders-style Red Ale fermented in Chambourcin barrels and aged with Michigan Blueberries

SideProject_BrettProject1_750ml_v1-01

SideProject_SaisonDuFermier_750ml_v3fed-01

SideProject_TheOrigin_750ml_v1 copy

 

IMG_6890As first announced last night on the StewedSTL podcast, Perennial Artisan Ale‘s head brewer Cory King will be stepping out on his own to create a still unnamed gypsy brewery. Without a doubt, this is some exciting news, but it could be worrysome news if you’re a fan of Perennial and Cory.

But, there is no need to worry, Cory will not be leaving Perennial.  In fact, his gypsy brewery will begin using Perennial’s equipment and space to brew these first few batches.

As for these first batches, well, I think we’re going to see something very special coming out of this brewery.  The first thing you need to know is that all of Cory’s beers will be barrel-aged. The second thing you need to know is that if you like stouts and sours, you’ll be a happy camper.  Here’s a look at his first beers:

A blended Imperial Stout. 75% Imperial Stout, 19% Baltic Porter, 6% Black Oatwine. Aged so far for 16 months in a Rittenhouse barrel, aged the last month in the barrel on Madagascar Vanilla Beans.

2 barrel fermented 100% Brett Saisons, 1 uses a single strain of Brett that was isolated from Cantillon, the other Saison is Brett from Drie Fonteinen.

A 100% spontaneous blonde (I’m trying not to use the word Lambic, but it’s a Missouri Lambic) from my family’s farm down in Southeast MO.

A Flanders that will be fruited. Single barrel releases of Blueberry Flanders, Raspberry, Blackberry, Black Raspberry and some other fruits to be determined.

A Wild Ale that’s fermented with a blend of the Funk Fest yeast and my family farm Lambic blend. Some barrels will get fruits like apricots, peaches, cherries, and cloudberries, some barrels will be dry hopped, and some will be released as is.

Whoa. These are some fantastic sounding beers. It shouldn’t be any surprise that Cory is working his brains out to come up with some interesting concoctions.

It’ll be a while before we see these beers hit store shelves. Cory expects at least 9 months or so before the first beers hit. And the good news for those of you that do most of your drinking at home, we’ll probably only see these beers in bottle for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.


In other equally awesome news, Phil Wymore announced (also on StewedSTL) that Perennial will begin canning of their year-round beers sometime in the near future. Hooray for more beers in cans!

In many ways, the STL Hops Big Black Beer Bash is a lot like Fight Club. The obvious example is that there is a set of rules:

1. You must be 21
2. You must bring your own tasting glass
3. Must bring a big black beer of some sort
4. You must not act a fool

It’s also a pretty quiet affair, it’s not something we really advertise on the front page as it’s not something we want to get out of hand. You need to post on the forums to see when it takes place. But, that’s pretty much where the resemblance ends.

There aren’t a bunch of sweaty shirtless dudes fighting each other. There are a bunch of very awesome people who bring some big, black beers to share with everyone. It’s a lovely event and Cory King and Perennial Artisan Ales are awesome people for helping put it on. If you weren’t able to attend, here are a couple of photos to enjoy:\