In a news release, Mike Blandford wrote, “By uniting as many craft brewers… as quickly as we have in this effort, is a clear and decisive message to the big guys: we are here and we are a force. That is why we call it #BiggestSmallBeerEver and are releasing it all together during American Craft Beer Week, May 16-22…as a toast to Ogg from every brewery involved during his upcoming surgery.”
- Submitted Photo
- The interior of Hunter's Brewing in Granger.
NUVO: What inspired you to join this national initiative?
Andy Walton: “I saw Andy's [Sparhawk] post on the Brewers Association forum and thought it sounded like a neat idea.
Amy Gentry: I found out about #BiggestSmallBeerEver through the Pink Boots Society, and was inspired by how many women across the country were excited to participate in this national collaboration. I’ve been a participant in International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day for the last three years, and there is something really special about working with other brewers to brew collaboratively for a cause.
NUVO: How will you work with the recipe—tweak it?
Andy Walton: I didn't change [the recipe] much. I nix'd the peat smoked malt and went with a higher percentage of wood smoked malt, and used slightly different yeast.
Amy Gentry: I didn’t make any major adjustments to the recipe. I changed a couple malts to accommodate what we had available and used a different hop variety for a little character. My personal opinion is that since there was thought and care put into the choice of and reason for using this recipe, it was respectful to keep true to the original intent of the beer.
NUVO: How will you bring your community and patrons into the big picture?
Andy Walton: Social media and word-of-mouth.
Amy Gentry: We’ll promote it as part of American Craft Beer Week. There has been some discussion of having a national release date for it during ACBW, which I think would be a great idea. I am a fan of the “replicale” type project - I think it’s an excellent opportunity for consumers to try different brewer interpretations of the same recipe as it can highlight uniqueness as well as similarity.
NUVO: How is being part of this initiative a natural progression of what you do as a craft brewer/owner?
- Jordan Mullins
- Don't miss the beer at Crooked Ewe Brewery
Amy Gentry: This is a hard question! I think as an owner/brewer, choosing to participate is a way to be involved with the national brewing community and to show our support for craft beer initiatives. Local, possibly even hyper-local, has become an intense focus in the last couple of years and I think it’s very important to remember that no matter whether a brewery is small or large, we’re all part of a national conversation that takes place every time someone sips a beer.
“I think the angle is exactly right,” emailed Andy Sparhawk from Brewers Association, after I shared responses. “All of these brewers compete for the same shelf space, the same tap handle and the same consumers. With growth there will be growing pains, but craft brewers, at their core, still reflect what we have come to love about the craft beer community; brewers helping brewers, sharing ideas and beers. It’s rare to see other industries as close knit and sharing as small and independent craft brewers.
“Tristan can attest to how quickly this all came together, pretty much two weeks to inspire at least one brewer in all 50 states, plus DC to agree to brew this beer. I was told that the feat was next to impossible. So how did we pull it off? I just asked, and brewers said yes. Most [brewers] probably didn’t have time or space to take on another beer, but the vast majority of them said, 'No problem, Andy. We’ll make it work.'"
Whether or not we make the pilgrimage to toast with Paul Ogg’s recipe replicated at the Crooked Ewe, 1047 Lincoln Way East, South Bend 46601 [574-217-0881; crookedewe.com] or at Hunter’s Brewing Company, 1535 S. Calumet Rd., Chesterton 46304 [219-728-6729; huntersbrewing.com], the plan is to raise a brew at hand as a toast for Paul Ogg’s recovery. Watch NUVO for specifics.
More about Paul Ogg and Declaration Brewing Company at: www.declarationbrewing.com/