Liquid Diet: Night Shift’s ‘Stop, Collaborate, & Glisten’
The people behind craft breweries, are by and large, an affable bunch. Unlike the corporate three, scrapping and clawing for every inch of cold box space, microbreweries accept that fact that a craft convert is a customer for the entire category. Everyone to some degree is influenced by the bottom line, but craft breweries tend to conduct themselves more like generous neighbors, sharing tips, equipment, and sometimes even the brewers themselves. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen more and more collaborative products showing up on shelves, like Stingo, an English strong ale brewed between Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing and Dann and Martha Paquette of Pretty Things. Or Prince Tuesday, a Belgian strong ale conceived by Maine standouts, Allagash, Rising Tide, and Maine Beer Company. Its craft beer’s answer to the rock supergroup and the trend is becoming ever more prevalent.
This synergistic climate has been fully embraced by the owners of Night Shift Brewing who have a number of collaborative concepts on the horizon, most notably with Noah Bissell of Maine’s cult nanobrewery, Bissell Brothers. Up first though is something Night Shift co-owner Michael Oxton has dubbed, “Stop, Collaborate, & Glisten,” a barrel-aged sparkling golden ale fermented with sauvignon blanc grape must and multiple wild yeast strains. The five barrel, 250-gallon project is the brainchild of Night Shift and Chad Henderson, lead brewer at NoDa Brewing in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We first connected with NoDa two years ago at the 2012 American Craft Beer Festival,” Oxton says. “Later that year, one of our employees, Mike Sullivan, went down to North Carolina and discussed a potential collaboration. We exchanged some emails and tried to nail down a recipe. The idea was to come up with something that represented both breweries. We knew we wanted to do something in barrel with a higher gravity, but lighter and more easier drinking than an imperial stout or double IPA.”
Both breweries, adept at using wine grape musts, honed in on the crisp and citrusy sauvignon blanc varietal to complement used white wine barrels. Four barrels were innoculated with three different Brettanomyces yeast strains to draw out a flurry of funky, rustic characteristics. A fifth barrel was pitched with Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, wild yeast varieties typical to sour ales. Night Shift aged each component for a year then blended the barrels prior to this May’s American Craft Beer Festival, where it made it’s much-heralded debut.
‘We poured 15 gallons at the festival it was really well received,” Oxton says. “I had numerous people tell me it was one of their favorite beers. Honestly, that beer alone was one of the reasons our line was as long as it was. We were curious to see people’s reactions to a tannic, slightly oaky, barrel-aged wild sour, but people absolutely dug it.”
On Thursday, June 12, Night Shift will be holding a release party for the beer with pints available on draft (no growler fills) and a limited amount of bottles available for purchase. Both formats are exclusive to the new Night Shift taproom, which opened to the public on May 22.
$20 per 750ml bottle (two bottle limit), 3 p.m., 87 Santilli Highway, Everett; 617-294-4233 or nightshiftbrewing.com.