It’s Friday, you’re hung over. That’s how you know Beer Week is upon us.
Last night was the event’s big opening party, the “Brewer’s Showcase,” at the Towe Auto Museum on Front Street. Nearly 1,000 showed up to throw back local brew, eat Drewski’s and take selfies in front of a Delorean.
There were plenty of exciting beer finds during the party, including Mraz’s sours and saisons, Auburn-Berryessa’s Cease and Desist collab.
But I’ll bet a gueuze from my fridge that the most exciting brewery of Sacramento Beer Week will be Black Vinyl Ale Project. Hands down.
Black Vinyl is a new brewery that started off in December. It’s having its official opening night this evening in Rocklin (4810 Granite Drive, Suite A-4, in Rocklin; 5 p.m.; no cover). They’ll be showcasing multiple drafts of their brews for the first time, I’m told. Later this year, they’ll be canning and bottling barrel-aged and sour brews and moving into a bigger facility in Lincoln.
At last evening’s Showcase, Black Vinyl poured a Berliner, a sour IPA, and a stout—the latter of which I did not sample, sadly. The sour IPA was in the vein of Prairie’s Funky Gold series, at once bitter and biting, and the 3.8 percent ABV Berliner was the night’s secret find: tart, light, refreshing.
I cornered brewmaster Adrian Barrera (pictured above, left, with bartender Aaron Taylor) at the Showcase for a quick chat:
You were brewing for Prairie Artisan Ales in Oklahoma last year, right?
I moved out to Oklahoma last May, then moved back here in December when I took the job at Boneshaker to start a sour and barrel-aged-beer program out here with Black Vinyl.
What was Oklahoma like?
There’s absolutely no reason to be in Oklahoma besides brewing in the craft-beer industry.
But aside from that, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing without Prairie, and without my time with Choc in Krebs. They taught me more when it comes to sour production and barrel-aging; that’s essentially all we did.
We referred to the Krebs brewing facility as a “Bomb factory,” because all we made about five days a week was Prairie Bomb.
That’s hilarious. But I like that about Prairie, though, that you had a popular beer and, instead of making it rare, you just brewed what the people wanted.
Were you sick of it?
Absolutely not, I love that beer.
So why are you in Sacramento now?
I’ve got a small little family that I’ve started. I’ve got a five-year-old that I’m trying to take care of, and my old lady, and we’re all originally from California, all of our family is out here.
What’s your goal as a brewer?
I want to win hardware for Black Vinyl. GABF, World Beer Cup, whatever it might be.
OK, so you’re straight-up going for it.
Absolutely. In this region, there aren’t very many breweries producing sour beers and barrel-aged beers to the level that we’re trying to go to. So, we’re trying to monopolize on the fact that everyone’s making clean beer and are apprehensive to jump into sour fermentation. We’ve currently got four sour beers and one 100 percent brettanomyces-fermented beer.
Tell me about one of your brews.
My sour IPA, which is being showcased in the IPA room tonight, is a lactobacillus -fermented IPA, which is very unique, there aren’t very many breweries producing them at this time. And I’m also bringing back extinct or dying recipes, such as goses or Berliner weisses. … We’re about a month out from that gose, but it’s a habanero-spiced gose. So it should be fun.
Where can we find your beer?
Currently it is exclusively out of the Boneshaker-Black Vinyl taproom on Granite Drive and [Interstate] 80. But we’re waiting to move into the Lincoln facility that Knee Deep occupied before they moved to Auburn. So, we’re taking over that facility, and we’re going to be offering growler fills, and we’re going to try to open a taproom there.