Going, going, gone….
So, here we are. It’s the last day of November with only 31 more days to go until the end of 2015. This past Friday we did our last canning run of The Shape of Hops to Come for 2015, and if you pay attention enough to our social media accounts (@NCBCBeer on Instagram and Twitter and www.facebook.com/neshaminycreekbrewing on Facebook) you saw a lil’ video posted on Friday giving you all a heads up. If you’re not following us on social media, well, you should. Case in point.
We’re now down to 9 cases of SHC left at the brewery and about 6 half barrel kegs that will be available on draft in the Tap Room until it runs out…..so, sometime in the next two weeks. After that, SHC is gone until July 2016. That’s all she wrote.
As of this past Saturday, 80 cases of The Shape of Hops to Come also shipped to our SEPA distributor, Bella Vista.
While I’m here I’ll touch on a topic that comes up almost everytime we post something on our website and social media about SHC’s availability, “Why don’t you make this beer year round?”
We just don’t have the hops.
Predicting production increases for a brewery is difficult. It can be even more challenging when you’re trying to estimate total produciton for a startup brewery that went from 1152 barrels in our first 7 months to, more than likely, just over 13,000 barrels less than 30 months later. To ensure we can cover our production we’ve had to make certain guestimates and leaps of faith early on about the success of this brewery. Hop contracts are usually done two or three years in advance, so ‘hedging your bets’ that you’re going to be successful is a bit easier when you’re talking about a few hundred or a thousand barrels, but a bit scarier when you’re talking about hop contracts that are worth more than the mortgage on your house. Because of that we secured enough hop through our contracts to get us through 2017 at a rate that wouldn’t crush us if we failed, and one that allowed us to grow modestly and continue to put out the beers we wanted to drink and thought you might like.
No one from this brewery to any of our distributors are hording this beer or did so in 2015. When people ask that question it’s almost hard to believe anyone would think that, let alone believe we’d do that. Of course, it’s our intention to ‘not make money’ with this brewery. We’re purposely not brewing and/or hiding beer from our distributors and customers, because, you know, we don’t want to be successful. Come on now. Be rational about it. I know that’s hard in the context of the small, insulated craft beer world that a lot of people live in. Get over it.
Moving ahead, we’re not sure what the future holds for The Shape of Hops to Come. More than likely, because of the demands on production of our core brands, we’re going to switch SHC’s availability from a six month release to a one time shipment to all our distributors each year. This year we shipped over 2500 cases of SHC to our distribution partners in PA and NJ. We have a modest increase built into our hop contracts for 2016 so in all likelihood we’ll do about 40% more next year to those distributors and a few new ones we’ll be announcing very shortly.
In the meantime, we’ve got some beers that should sooth your hop tooth coming out in the coming weeks for both distribution and exclusively here at the brewery.
First up, we’ve got our first release of A Good Problem to Have DIPA going down on Saturday, December 12th starting at 12 Noon. We’re only making this beer available in cans direct ONLY at the brewery; none will be shipped to distributors or sold to retailers. ZERO. NONE. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. If you want this beer you must come to the brewery and get it. We’re making this beer available in 16 ounce six-packs, and cases. Six-packs are $22 a piece and cases are $75, with a two case per customer limit. We’re only canning this beer 5 or 6 times a year and each run will be roughly 190 to 200 cases.
In addition to that we’re also releasing the draft only collaboration we brewed with our good friends The Menzingers on Saturday, December 12th. This 8% hoppy, unabashedly Americanized Imperial Kölsch we’ve dubbed Menzinger was brewed with a ton of American and German hops, and fermented with a German Kölsch yeast to create a beer that’s big, bold, and hoppy, yet still retains some of the fruity esters and crisp malt qualities Kölsch is known for (think tons of late flavor and aroma hop additions with multiple dry hop additions instead of up front DIPA bitterness). Surely there are a bunch of purist out there that are too cool to drink this beer, but that’s fine, we didn’t make this beer for you anyway. Oh, it’s not a Kölsch? Thanks for the news flash, Mr. Cool. Hope your enjoying all that fake Kölsch that’s not brewed in Köln and is probably six months old already.
Don’t miss our release party for Menzinger starting with the tapping at 5 PM and acoustic sets from The Menzingers, Broadcaster, and one Special Guest to be announced shortly. Music will start at 7 PM. Hope you’re ready to party!
After that we’ll be debuting another Tap Room only release just before Christmas, Ecomis DIPA. This 8.7% Double India Pale Ale is brewed with a ton of Simcoe, with a little help from Apollo, Chinook, Columbus and Calypso hops as well. Again, we used a gratuitous amount of Simcoe and Citra hops in the dry hop and we’re pretty stoked to make this brew available just before the holiday!
Returning in late December and shipping to distribution the first week of January is Blitzkrieg Hops, our double English-style IPA brewed with Admiral, Phoenix, Pilgrim, and Target hops! Cases and kegs start rolling out brite tanks in about three weeks!
We’ve got another exclusive brewery can/case release in the works as well, but more on that in due time.
So, there you have it. All the hops news you can fit into a overly wordy Monday morning blog post. Until next time!