Barrel-Aged Sour Program Starts Bearing Fruit!

We have brewed all types of beers in our (almost) 6 years of being a commercial brewery. Kettle sours, IPAs, Belgian styles, stouts, barrel aged stouts, lagers… In our first year open we brewed 70 different beers – and we haven’t let up since.

All this is consistent with what drove me when I started homebrewing a number of years ago. One of the big things that got me interested in brewing was the challenge. The challenge of creating something, the challenge of new processes, the challenge of managing living organisms to create the beverage that I was aiming for.

 Thor moving souring barrels into place

Thor moving souring barrels into place

That challenge is continually evolving and developing every day as we continue to improve our processes.  It changes every day as our palates evolve and as new styles come about (think hazy IPA and now Brut IPA).  I love to jump at the chance to brew these exciting beers which bring a real challenge to our production, often requiring new processes and techniques. 

The good example of this opportunity since opening the brewery was back in 2015 when we had yet to ever brew a kettle sour.  After brewing three kettle sour batches on my 5 gallon homebrew set up, as well as performing a lot of research, I scaled up the process to 6.5BBLs and we released our first ever kettle soured beer – our Gose – for our 3rd anniversary.  And the very first batch won Gold at GABF, which was pretty amazing! Since then we’ve brewed a number of beers using the kettle sour technique including Berliner Weisses, Gose variants, and our collaboration with Funkwerks – Hoppy Tart Saison.

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But one area we haven’t been able to focus on is barrel-aged sours, exploring the world of bacteria and brettanomyces.  The risk of cross contamination was always too high for us to have these beers in the same physical space as “clean” beers, so we had to wait until we had the ability to segregate the wild beers physically.  We managed to start doing this back in February 2017.

Since then, we have been building up our sour program slowly. We have made a lot of progress, but still have a lot more opportunity to further expand – and a lot of projects on the list! Currently we have a number of barrels and puncheons with various brett and bacteria blends aging in them, as we continue to experiment to search for unique flavor profiles.  We have two base beers in barrels – a darker rye beer, as well as a blonde. We have just added a 30 BBL foeder, a large oak fermenter, which will be used to expand our Brettania series of beers.  Also earlier this year we brewed our first spontaneously-fermented beer – which is currently fermenting and aging in oak barrels.

 The newest member of our sour family

The newest member of our sour family

We are also fortunate to have in our team some talented people focused on our new program. Thor has led the way, spending the most time on the project so far and a lot of the beers are a great testament to his hard work. James, Matt, Nigel and myself have also been actively involved in the beer and program development - I feel we have a very strong team in place to continue to take us forward.

We kick off our oak aged sour series on July 21 with Brettania - Boysenberry and Blackberry. We will have a limited number of 375ml bottles available on a first come-first served basis from 11am. Both Brettania and Tropical Funk will be available on tap too.

Brettania - Boysenberry and Blackberry - made a brief appearance during Seattle Beer Week, but now we're excited to announce its official release.  Brettania is a rustic saison aged in oak puncheons with our house mixed brettanomyces culture, and then rested on boysenberries and blackberries for six months before being bottle conditioned. A bright, dry and effervescent beer, full with jammy fruit character, makes this beer - the first release from our oak sour series - perfect for the hot summer days.  This first batch was sent to the North American Brewer Awards earlier this summer and picked up a medal – our first medal for our barrel-aged sour program!

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Brettania is the first in a new series for us - we expect a fresh version released every 3 to 4 months, each featuring a different fruit.  The next version is already bottle conditioning, and features guava.  We are working with local farmers to get fresh fruit for an upcoming batch too.

Brettania – the name of the series – takes Britannia (a term often referred to for Britain, I think it goes back to Latin roots) and merges it with brettanomyces – which is Greek for “British fungus.” This series will feature our house brett blend front and center.

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Tropical Funk is a Brett IPA. With a 100% Brettanomyces Drie primary ferment, this funky, hazy IPA is packed to the gills with tropical fruit notes. Bright tropical notes driven by the Citra and Mosaic hops are complemented by grapefruit from the brettanomyces, with a little background funk and white pepper from the brett adding complexity. A soft pillowy mouthfeel supports the fruit forward flavor profile.  Imagine one of our Crush beers fermented with brett and you get the idea for this beer!

We are also working on a number of other beers - some of which are already aging out in barrels. One - a Belgian Pale Ale refermented with brett in the bottle - will be released on our anniversary on August 4.  It will be a fun journey and we are looking forward to expanding this area of our brewery, and sharing the fruits of our labor with you.

Thank you for your support, and cheers!

Adam

New Marketing Manager Position!

Position summary:

Reuben’s has grown significantly over the past few years, presenting the need for this new role. This new role will report to our Co-founder and Brewmaster and has one primary goal: To let more beer lovers in the Pacific Northwest know about our brewery and tasty brews.  The successful applicant will be responsible for leading day-to-day marketing operations and provide strong leadership and focus for our team as a whole. The successful applicant will work closely with the two Co-founders, Director of Sales, and the Assistant Taproom Manager in day-to-day operations.

About us:

Reuben’s Brews is a fast growing, family-owned brewery located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA. Since opening in 2012, our beer has won over 150 medals including Gold medals at the 2017, 2016 and 2015 Great American Beer Festivals.  We have a 15 BBL brewery and taproom, as well as a 5 BBL small batch brewery, an expanding sour program and are currently building a 30BBL production brewery.

The role:

To achieve the goal of letting more beer lovers in the Pacific Northwest know about our brewery and tasty brews, the successful candidate will:

-              Develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans and programs, both short and long term, to support brewery objectives
-              Oversee and lead marketing efforts across all media channels – including content creation – over social media, our own website and email newsletters, and ratings websites, to connect with more people and enhance the visibility of our brewery
-              Understand and embrace Reuben’s beers, which includes developing and maintaining a detailed knowledge of the differences, and similarities, between our brews, our methods and Reuben’s as a whole and those of other craft brewers and mass-market beer producers
-              Originate and schedule promotional support for Reuben’s beer releases in distribution, and taproom events and initiatives
-              Become a valued voice for Reuben’s Brews over a number of channels – including festivals, online, and with media
-              Oversee promotion activities including print, digital, social media, multi-media, e-newsletters, and other messaging platforms, as well as executing in house graphic design as required
-              Analyze and review competitive data, including pricing, to make strategic recommendations
-              Oversee and maintain the company’s merchandise program, both online, in our taprooms, and in distribution channels for events and incentives
-              Responsible for the creation, design, printing, and dissemination of all POS materials, getting the best value for dollars spent
-              Drive and participate in events, festivals, and other marketing activities, both on- and off-site
-              Work with our partners to develop our media relationship by writing media releases, developing media connections, sending samples etc.
-              As a key member of the management team, to provide strong leadership skills for the brewery as a whole
-              Lead the drive towards “Bloody Good Beer!” – good isn’t good enough, our beer needs to improve every day – continual improvement needs to be engrained in our culture

Qualifications required:

At a very minimum to be considered, you must have:

-              A college degree in marketing, communications, graphic design or business
-              3+ years experience a multi-faceted role covering marketing, communications, graphic design, and business
-              Previous management experience - including managing third party agencies, freelance relationships, and other team members
-              Expert content creation skills – a strong resume showing regularly utilizing Adobe Illustrator, and photo / video editing skills
-              A detailed knowledge of the beer industry, including a strong knowledge of Reuben’s     

In addition to these minimum requirements, we expect the successful candidate will demonstrate the following:

-              An in-depth passion for the science and art of beer
-              Infectiously enthusiastic and can-do attitude - a thirst to learn, to teach others, and an obsessive commitment to our brewery’s success is an absolute must
-              A “till the job is done” work ethic – flexibility to work non-standard hours when the need arises
-              Impeccable judgment, professional maturity, and integrity. An ability to be focused on details, as well as the bigger picture
-              Motivated, self-starter attitude with a resourceful nature
-              Excellent written and verbal communication skills, effective time management
-              Strong leadership skills and ability to earn the trust and support of a capable team
-              Experience with brewery related systems – e.g. OBeer, VIP, KARMA, IRI – is a distinct advantage
-              Content creation and management experience with all major social media platforms and email platforms
-              Physical demands include but are not limited to: Frequently required to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms, climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; Often lift or move full 1/2BBL kegs.

Our team is the heart of Reuben’s Brews.  We therefore offer competitive salary and benefits, career development opportunities and the chance to help craft a wonderful future.

To apply, send your resume, along with:

1) An explanation of why you want to work for Reuben’s Brews, and
2) A suggestion of how we could improve our general positioning in the market; 

to careers@reubensbrews.com. Applicants not completing these two requirements will not be considered. We anticipate interviewing candidates in August 2018.  

Cheers!

Reuben’s Brews gives back $100,000 to Seattle nonprofits

Seattle brewery’s “Thank You Thursdays” program hosts a new organization each week in its taproom; builds community connections

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SEATTLE, Wash. (June 27, 2018) – Reuben’s Brews has donated $100,000 to local nonprofit organizations through a number of outreach programs, including the brewery’s popular “Thank You Thursday” events. This weekly event supports a variety of local nonprofits at the brewery’s Ballard taproom.

“As a small, family-owned business, it is very important to us that we remain connected with our community and support the good work our neighbors do,” said Grace Robbings, co-founder of the brewery whose commitment to philanthropy started nearly 20 years ago when she became a Peace Corps volunteer. “We are grateful to them for the work they do to care for and serve our community. To be able to get to know them and their missions through the Thank You Thursday program is incredibly inspiring, and we are thankful to be able to support them in this way.”

Each Thursday, the brewery hosts a different nonprofit organization at its taproom. Throughout the evening, $1 of every pint, growler or set of at least three tasters sold goes to the hosted organization. Representatives from the organization are invited onsite to talk about their work and raise awareness for their cause. The range of supported organizations is wide, with just a few examples including those that work to protect the environment, provide resources for children and women who have been abused, advocate for human rights, empower those living with mental illness or disabilities, feed and shelter the homeless, and care for animals.

One of the most popular Thank You Thursday events is “Baby Goats and Brews” with the Puget Sound Goat Rescue. The organization brings out several baby goats for guests to pet while they learn more about the animals and how they can support the rescue (while drinking beer). This year’s event will be held on Thursday, July 19 at the taproom, 5010 14th Ave NW, Seattle.

Sarah Klapstein of the Puget Sound Goat Rescue said, “Our annual Thank You Thursday event with Reuben’s Brews has become one of the fundraising highlights of our year. Not only do we raise much needed funds for the rescue and care of the more than 200 goats we save each year, it also supports our mission of educating people about goats and the need for our life saving work. We are so grateful to be a part of this amazing program!”

In addition to the Thank You Thursday program, Reuben’s Brews supports: the work of Gorilla FC to help build tiny houses through the Low Income Housing Initiative; the Ales for ALS program; the Pink Boots Society for women in the beer industry; and numerous nonprofit fundraisers with in-kind donations.

2018 Hop Idol Winners!

Alex Kuyper Wins Reuben’s Brews Second Annual Hop Idol Homebrew Contest

Competition triples in size in its second year; winning beer will be brewed for Pacific Northwest distribution

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SEATTLE, Wash. (March 7, 2018) – Reuben’s Brews has named the 2018 winner of its second annual “Hop Idol” Homebrew Contest: Alex Kuyper. Beating out 116 total entries, Kuyper’s “Dwayne IPA” took home the title. This hazy Northeast style IPA will now be brewed at Reuben’s Brews in Seattle and distributed in Pacific Northwest region.

“This year’s contest was fiercely competitive as our judging panel received amazing home brews from not only Washington and Oregon, but also from as far away as Alabama and Wisconsin,” said Adam Robbings, co-founder and brewmaster. “Alex’s winning creation has a fruit-forward nose with notes of sage, floral, jasmine, a juicy body and balanced bitterness. It will be fun to make this at the brewery alongside Alex and share it with the beer-loving community.”

Hop Idol is a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) certified homebrew competition. All entries were blind tasted and scored against the BJCP style guidelines, focusing on hoppy styles. The judging panel included BJCP-certified beer judges, Reuben’s team members, some of Reuben’s wholesale customers and representatives from Reuben’s distributors.

In addition to brewing “Dwayne IPA” with the Reuben’s team at their brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Alex’s beer will be distributed throughout the Northwest and will be entered in the Washington Beer Awards Pro-Am competition as well as the Great American Beer Festival. The distributed brew will available on tap in the Reuben’s taproom and in bottles starting in May.

Second place honors went to Tim Mattran for his “Opposite Saisons”, and third place was taken by the overall winner, Alex Kuyper for his “Carl Double IPA.”

“It takes time, effort and commitment to brew beer and send it out for a contest like this, and we’d like to thank everyone who shared their brews with us,” said Robbings. “This annual contest goes back to how I got started in brewing and it is close to my heart. Homebrewers out there are doing great work and we hope this contest draws some attention to that.”