One of my true great beer experiences was receiving a private tour of the Ibex Cellar, underneath the main Schlafly tap room by none other than Founding brewer Stephen Hale.
The occasion was the soon to be released Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, the newest from the “From the Ibex Cellar” at the time. Regrettably, another tour could not be arranged as Hale and Schlafly Beer introduces the next beer in series: Local Oak, as I’m writing this from the beach in Florida. But Hale did put together this video on YouTube.
This is the first true sour beer from Schlafly Beer and the first from the brewery’s foeders, made by Foeder Crafters of America, the Missouri-based craftsmen and only foeder makers in the U.S.
The sour ales of Belgium are the source of inspiration for this new brew, with began as a Saison before undergoing several transformations as it was fermented with the additions of Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces and two Saison yeast strains, then aged over three months in Schlafly’s new elegant foeders hewn from locally grown Ozark timber, this is where the beer develops a lot of its character.
“The mixed-fermentation process creates all the personality that you expect from a beer like this, with tart and fruity traits introduced from the Lacto and Brett, with a light malt character,” said Hale.
Inside the Ibex Cellar
Nestled deep within the belly of The Schlafly Tap Room, below the footsteps of patrons and beyond the daily routine of brewing, lies a sacred room that connects the north and south structures below the earth. This solace room, quiet in space and undisturbed by light and motion, is where the most favored batches are brought to rest and evolve.
It is here the beers spend extended resting times in spirit barrels of different varieties. Then, the beers will make their way upstairs to Schlafly’s new Horn & Quill Room that features a new craft bottling line as well as two new foeder tanks, made with Missouri white oak from Missouri company, Foeder Crafters.
From The Ibex Cellar
Unlike Schlafly’s extremely limited Ibex Rare series, which was only available in 750 ml bottles, the six releases in this new series will be available in four-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles with a suggested retail price of $17.99.
But why release in smaller bottles?
“Think of the 750 ml bottle. It is just bit more than two 12 ounce bottles,” said Hale. “There’s nothing wrong with them. We’re still doing them, in fact, we’re bottling our Baltic Porter as we speak. But now having these in specially designed 4-pack, 11-ounce bottles gives the consumer a better value experience.”
The fourth in the 2017 series of premium beers from the Tap Room’s Ibex Cellar, Local Oak will debut on Monday, during St. Louis Craft Beer Week.