Every late summer, right before the wine harvest gets rolling, we invite our local winemaker friends to the brewery to help blend our annual Anniversary Ale. Winemakers are practicing experts in the art of blending, and we realized early on that they could provide invaluable input for creating a seamless beer from numerous barrel-aged component ales.
The winemakers come for both the challenge and the camaraderie. They split up into small teams and create their own preferred blends from the provided components. Each of the resulting trials is then blind tasted by the entire group, and votes are cast for the winning blend.
The victorious team walks away with bragging rights—and with a set of coveted cardboard crowns.
The result this year is XXIV—a masterwork of richness and complexity, blended from six distinct ales aged primarily in bourbon barrels, with a small portion aged in tequila barrels.
"Once the winemakers’ blends came back to the brewery, we mocked the beers up on a bigger scale, hand-bottled and delivered them to the wineries to begin the voting process. The votes poured in and Halter Ranch took the crown!”