Earlier this year, we met with our friends at WeldWerks Brewing Co., an award-winning craft brewery located in Greeley, Colorado recognized for brewing an array of beer styles including Juicy Bits, one of the most highly regarded IPAs in the country. We had a mutual admiration for one another, similar brand values, and a shared desire to push the culinary boundaries of food and beer-making. A collaboration was inevitable, and we wanted it to be unlike anything that was ever done before.
We sat down at the brewery and began tasting different combinations of craft beers produced by WeldWerks Brewing Co. and items from The Real Dill product line. We knew that mixing a shot of stout with Bloody Mary mix was not uncommon practice, so when we tasted our Bloody Mary Mix with WeldWerks Brewing Co.'s Medianoche Imperial Stout, we knew we were onto something. We left the meeting with a freshly emptied Medianoche beer barrel and returned to The Dillery to begin aging our Bloody Mary Mix inside of it.
The process was purely an experiment, and we had no idea what results we would achieve. So to start, we decided to age our Bloody Mary Mix in one Medianoche beer barrel for one month, and we would monitor the progress from there. After the first month, The Real Dill team and WeldWerks Brewing Co. crew were all surprised by the incredible flavor difference in the Bloody Mary Mix. Due to our excitement for the potential barrel aged Bloody Mary Mix that we were developing, we decided to fill two more beer barrels with our Bloody Mary Mix, which would result in a run of three total barrels.
All three of the barrels that we received from WeldWerks Brewing Co. had whiskey in them before the brewery filled them with their craft beer. Over time, the whiskey barrels themselves significantly changed our standard Bloody Mary Mix. However, it was the flavor from the Medianoche Imperial Stout, which previously aged in the whiskey barrels, that had the biggest impact. The difference was amazing; from the color, to the flavor and the texture, we were thrilled with the result.
We let the first barrel full of Bloody Mary Mix age for six months in cold storage, and the other two aged just under five months in the same setting. Once the mix finished aging, we blended all three barrels together, combining the deeper flavors found in the original barrel with the brighter notes from the second two.
After coming up with the idea for this project, we did a lot of research and found no evidence of any other, true barrel aged Bloody Mary Mix on the market. "I think it is really cool and exciting when you can be the first to bring an idea to market," says Tyler DuBois, Co-Founder of The Real Dill. "Although it is probably not a new feeling for WeldWerks Brewing Co., we are pumped to create a "first of its kind" with their creative team."
This project also inspired us to develop a new home that we can use as a creative outlet to develop a more limited line of products called The Prospecter Series. As a collection of culinary trailblazers, independent thinkers, and innovative makers, we are constantly digging through the depths of our imaginations in the hopes of unearthing a creative breakthrough. With this notion, we developed the Prospector Series, our newest series that spotlights single-batch, underground, and very limited releases, for when our inspiration strikes gold.
Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find something truly unique. The Prospector Series features our most exclusive, experimental product offerings and taps into rare ingredients and eccentric combinations. We are so excited to launch this new series and feature Powder Keg, our barrel aged Bloody Mary Mix made in collaboration with WeldWerks Brewing Co., as the first release.
We aged our bestselling Bloody Mary Mix in Weldwerks' Medianoche Imperial Stout barrels, merging the complex and rich character of this massive beer with the fresh and lively notes of our cocktail mix. Although a surprising combo, this barrel aged mix has a refreshing roundness with hints of oak and a mild sweetness.
The immediately noticeable difference between our traditional Bloody Mary Mix and Powder Keg is the color. The barrel aging imparted a deeper, rusty hue to the normally bright colors found in our original Bloody Mary Mix. The fresh sharp flavors found in our mix were softened by the Medianoche Imperial Stout and charred oak in the barrel aging process, leaving hints of caramel, vanilla and smoke. The mouthfeel is richer, and the mix is a little more robust. We suggest pairing Powder Keg Bloody Mary Mix with bold flavored spirits such as aged tequila, mezcal or bourbon. Of course, it also tastes delicious with traditional vodka.
After we emptied the Bloody Mary Mix out of the Medianoche barrels, we gave them back to WeldWerks Brewing Co. so they could breathe another life into them. They immediately took the freshly emptied barrels to their brewery in Greeley to develop a beer that capitalized on the new flavor profile of the barrels. The team at WeldWerks Brewing Co. filled the barrels with a lager base, and in total the barrels were only empty for about five hours, ensuring no flavor was lost.
"The finished beer turned out better than we could have hoped for having only spent a short amount of time hanging out in the barrels. This was done intentionally because we wanted to have the focus of the flavors coming from the mix that had spent time in the barrels rather than the oak from the barrels,” says Skip Schwartz, WeldWerks Innovation and Wood Cellar Lead. “There are notes of garlic and dill, salty brine, followed by a slight acidic character coming from the tomatoes. The Medianoche that gave its flavor to the Bloody Mary Mix has smoothed out this lager and added some sweetness to the final beer. The char from the barrel adds an almost BBQ or Worcestershire sauce component to the final beer.”
Considering we walked away from our first brainstorm session at the WeldWerks Brewing Co. taproom with ten or eleven ideas for potential collaborative projects, we think it is a safe bet that we will see more joint efforts from both of our brands in the future. For now, we cannot wait for you to try Powder Keg, our first collaboration.
Fair warning, this limited-run product will only be available once. You can buy Powder Keg here, on our online store, and there will also be limited quantities available at the WeldWerks Brewing Co. taproom on Friday, August 27, 2021. In addition to the Bloody Mary Mix, WeldWerks will release the draft-only collaboration beer called Kind of a Weld Dill Barrel-Aged Lager. This Rice Lager was aged in the same barrels that held the Powder Keg Bloody Mary Mix. Guests will receive a free Juicy Bits beer pickle with the purchase of the collaboration beer.
Be on the lookout for forthcoming Prospector Series releases in the future. Due to the specialness of the Prospector Series, each release will be crafted in extremely small quantities and typically, only available at therealdill.com.