Le Con and Other Apricot Beers

Time flies. In 3 weeks it’ll have been a year since we released our first beer, ++good Mosaic. This last weekend we were at the CCBA summit in Sacremento, which last year was the first festival we ever poured at. And recently we’ve bottled a couple of the first beers we brewed, which have aged over a year at this point. One of which will be the second to last release for the 2017 Syndicate, called Candide. It’s been a crazy time, and we’re endlessly thankful for all of the support.

This week we’re releasing a new beer called Le Con. It’s a blend of four beers: Aged Hop Saison, Spelt Saison, Simple Saison, and a small amount of Super Honey Saison (our HPB collaboration). The beers ranged from 4-10 months old. Our goal was to make a beer that showcased the fruit. Not too funky and not too sour. We’re really proud of how it turned out. You might have tried this beer at our Syndicate member party last month, and it’ll also be on tap tonight (September 12, 2017) at The Hermosillo. Apricots are an amazing fruit. They’ve always made some of my favorite beer (Fou’Foune, West Ashley, Filmishmish, Aurelian Lure, etc.) and I’d been wanting to do my own version for a while. Tasting a few different varieties of apricots this year, I realized it’s a much more subtle fruit than I realized, with less acid than I remembered. So we decided to use more fruit than we initially planned on. We got 400 pounds for a 200 gallon batch. The fruit was from a small farm in San Luis Obispo called See Canyon Fruit ranch and the variety was called Blemheim Apricots. They were relatively small in size, mostly orange with some red blush spots, and that classic flavor and taste of fresh apricots

We actually made 3 apricot beers this year. When our friend, Adam, who helped source the fruit dropped it off to us, he brought another variety from a different farm for us to try. They were Bonny Royal Apricots from Andy’s Orchard. These were large fleshy perfectly ripe fruits with deep rich flavors. I fell in love and pondered what we could do with them that night. Since the original Apricot beer was a pretty large batch for us, I decided we’d take a portion of it after it was done aging on the Blemheim apricots, and put it back in a 400L puncheon with more Bonny Royal Apricots, and release this double fruited apricot elixir as our first anniversary beer. Unfortunately the Andy’s Orchard apricots were prohibitively expensive for us, BUT, the farm had a few cases of weird looking fruit that was too ugly to sell at a market. Mostly they were just oddly shaped or had blemishes on the skins. This is a pretty common thing, and this type of fruit is often referred to as “Seconds.” They taste just as good, and are perfect for beer, since they tend to be overripe. So we snatched them up and a second apricot beer was born out of the first. In honor of the fruit and the double fruiting, and because I love Irony, this beer will be called “Seconds: A First Anniversary Beer.” Seconds was bottled last week in 375ml green bottles. It has intensely huge aromas of stone fruit, with this really awesome added layer of floral rose like aromas. We are throwing a sort of anniversary party on October 14, which will basically just be a one day open tasting room, and the admittance will be the purchase of a bottle of Seconds.

The third apricot beer we made is called Apricot Atavism. You may recognize the name from other draft only beers we’ve made called Blackberry Atavism and Black Raspberry Atavism. The Atavism series is a secondary beer aged on the spent fruit from other bottle releases. So far we’ve done them for Marion Blackberry Saison, Psalm Spite, and Le Con. Atavism beers will always be draft only offerings. For us, it’s a fun way to get more out of the fruit, and to get more fruited sours on tap at different bars, since it’s hard to justify the cost/price of distributing kegs of fruited barrel aged sours. The word “Atavism” is a biology term which refers to an evolutionary throwback, or reversion, or re-appearance of a trait that hasn’t existed for many generations. It derives from the Latin word “Atavus” which means great-great-grandfather, or ancestor. Apricot atavism is interesting because it itself is kind of a double fruited beer. Le Con was aged on apricots in 4 barrels. We transferred 2 of the barrels into our blending/bottling tank and added the Atavism blend into those 2 barrels. After a couple weeks, we then transferred the other remaining 2 barrels of Le Con into the tank, then transferred the 2 barrels of Atavism into the second 2 Le Con barrels. It’s a really cool beer. More subtle and lighter in body and alcohol than Le Con, but highly crushable, refreshing, very fruity still.

Le Con will be on sale to members tomorrow Wednesday September 13 at noon, and will be available to the public online starting Friday the 15th. It was packaged in 375ml and 750ml bottles. The name and artwork are an homage to a famous apricot sour, but you’ll have to figure those details out on your own. You can try Le Con this week on tap at The Hermosillo, and Apricot Atavism will be on tap at some point this week at Mikkeller DTLA, Select Beer, House of Billiards, Southland Beer, and a few others to be announced. It’s also on tap in Northern California at Beer Thirty in Santa Cruz and Final Gravity in Roseville. Hope to see you all on October 14. Cheers!


-Kevin Osborne

Founder/Brewer Cellador Ales