We started on the back-forty of the Firestone family vineyard, and our very first beers were fermented in wine barrels. In a nod to our history, we often find ways to incorporate the local wine culture into our beers. From using oak barrels, gathering local winemakers to help blend our Anniversary Ale every year, to the creation of Rosalie, we like to pay homage to where we come from and an exploration of where we can go.
As with most of our experimental beers, Rosalie started at the Propagator R&D brewing facility in Venice, California. The idea was to work out a way to seamlessly combine grapes into a broad-market, shelf-stable beer that gives you all the desired characteristics from rosé wine. It took several tries before finding the right recipe and plan
Our friends and neighbors at Castoro Cellars harvested 100 tons of Chardonnay grapes, which was later followed by smaller picks of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Muscat, in total we used 200 tons, all for one year of Rosalie.
— Matt Brynildson
The Chardonnay provides these crowd-pleasing textures and flavors. But we also wanted to weave in the other grape varieties to lift the aromas and add complexity.
Once we had the grape juice pressed and delivered into our cold storage, we began to think about the beer. The idea was to create an acid profile similar to rosé wine, which you don’t typically get from yeasts and malts. So, we had to get creative and use subtle souring techniques to elevate the titratable acidity.
We co-fermented the wort with the grape juice, essentially making beer and wine at the same time. The wort is made with light pilsner malt and a judicious number of hops giving us a fermentable wort with a delicate male character, a subtle hop profile, and a distinct natural acidity. Which is then blended with the fermentable wine grape juice.
The last step is to add hibiscus. During the whirlpool phase, we add hibiscus flowers to give Rosalie its rosé coloring. The hibiscus also contributes a touch of natural citric acid that awakens the palate.
— Matt Brynildson
This gives us a classic rosé coloration with a suggestion of rose petal in the aromas.
If you haven’t tried Rosalie yet, use our beer finder to discover where you can get your today.