Introducing our newest barrel-aged beer: Hoop Driver
Named for the tool used by coopers to drive home the metal hoops that hold a barrel’s wooden staves together, Hoop Driver is the culmination of more than five years of teamwork and patience. It’s crafted from a melange of our favorite beers aged in bourbon, rum, and oak barrels blended to perfection with our friends at Cider Corps, AZ Distilling, Pillsbury Wine Company, Cotton & Copper, Brickyard Downtown, and the Joy Bus Diner.
About The Blending
In January 2020, we invited a small group of friends and past collaborators to our 8th Street brewery to participate in a top-secret project. Their mission: Taste our favorite barrel-aged ales and blend them together to create an entirely new beer. The folks we invited weren’t chosen by accident. Though they came from different parts of the food and beverage industry—cider-making, wine-making, distilling, cooking, creating cocktails—all of the attendees shared one important quality: the ability to skillfully combine a variety of flavors and ingredients to create something new and delicious. The tasters were broken up into three groups and given a variety of beer samples to sniff, sip, and blend together. The blends were then blind-tasted by everyone in attendance. The blend deemed best was scaled up, blended, and bottled. Hoop Driver was born.
The Final Blend
Bobby Kramer of The Brickyard Downtown, Chris Brinkmeyer of Pillsbury Wine Co., Josh Duren of Cider Corps, and our own head innovation brewer, Melissa Osborne, created the blend that won the blind tasting. Here are the proportions they selected:
- 46% rum barrel-aged Raj
- 15% bourbon barrel-aged Hopsquatch
- 15% bourbon barrel-aged Heavy Lifter
- 23% American oak foeder-aged golden ale
Jason Grossmiller – owner/distiller, Arizona Distilling Co.
Jon Eagan – partner, Arizona Distilling Co.
Bobby Kramer – chief mixologist, Brickyard Downtown
Jason Duren – owner, Cider Corps
Josh Duren – owner, Cider Corps
Tamara Stanger – executive chef, Cotton & Copper
Jennifer Caraway – founder, The Joy Bus Diner
Chris Brinkmeyer – winemaker, Pillsbury Wine Co.
Sam Pillsbury – owner, Pillsbury Wine Co.
A Note from Barrel Program Manager Melissa Osborne
The blend chosen for this beer is bold but balanced. Expect notes of toffee, chocolate, raisin, and stone fruit up front. The foeder-aged portion of the blend adds just a hint of Brettanomyces in the finish to balance out the rich barrel character.
Thank you to all of our friends who came to 8th Street to help us make this beer. It was one of best days of my life!