Hi there. This is Adam with a few things to say to you about Famille. It’s our new Small Oat Saison. The ingredients were sourced almost entirely from California. And it is incredibly delicious. I am not a brewer. This will not be about brewing. For some reason they let me write this.
Now, I am biased, but I love Famille. For starters, it is extremely my kind of beer. Restrained acidity and balanced flavors make it easy drinking. The name and label evoke conversations around a table with my beer and farm families. Two places I am happiest. It also fills me with pride for the small hand that I had in making it happen, and for being associated with Cellador and the Tehachapi Grain Project.
When I’m not covered in fruit and beer at Cellador, I run Pop Produce where I broker ingredients for brewers. Connecting the best farmers growing the best ingredients with the best brewers making the best beers is what I love to do (this is how I came to know Kevin). 90% of that business revolves around fruit (and sometimes carrots) which brings me an incredible amount of joy. But I also devote a lot of time and energy to working with brewers and local grain growers to make more beers like Famille a reality. Grains are powerful forces for positive environmental change, economic health and community improvement. Supporting farmers who share my values is one way I can use my business for good. The beautiful French black oats used to make Famille were grown by my friends at The Tehachapi Grain Project. They are part of small group of dedicated farmers leading the charge in restoring heritage grains’ place in the market. They are good stewards of the land and the air. And they are tireless promoters and educators. It is a difficult and expensive undertaking but one that we should support. They make things taste better. And they do good.
Connecting Tehachapi Grain Project and Cellador is a dream for this match maker. You know about Kevin’s wild creativity and skill as a flavor producer. His creation of The Carrot King and the Buried Lover and Gourde Fumee and and and and and and. He’s pretty damned fun to work with. If you read things that he writes, which I encourage you to do, you should also know that that thoughtfulness and creativity are not confined to the brewery. They extend to the ingredients and the farmers that make those flavors possible. He’s hungry for flavor but not in a cynical way that exploits either farmer’s work or consumers desire for new things. He cares about quality ingredients but understands quality to include where and how a thing was grown. And, he doesn’t just rely on someone like me to tell him what’s good. He puts in the time and effort to deepen his relationship with farms and ingredients. You might roll your eyes at images (like this one) of the brewer (or chef or winemaker) in the field in deep conversation with an earthy looking farmer. I get it. It can come off like self-important, overly romantic bullshit. And sometimes it is. But conversations like the one Kevin is having with Andy (from Andy’s Orchard) in that photo do matter. The relationship between grower and maker matters. It’s how we ended up with Famille. I know. Eye roll.
But you can achieve an extra level of enjoyment when you drink beers like Famille by setting aside a bit of cynicism and allowing for the possibility that beers like Famille can matter beyond their objective deliciousness. I mean, it is a small beer. Maybe it matters in a small way.
If you can’t do that, that’s cool. I hope you still like it. Share it at a table with friends and conversation.
PS I neglected to mention the beautiful malt created by our friends at Admiral Maltings. They are incredible and doing great work to support small farms, heritage grains and flavorful beer with heart. Sorry guys!
*Famille is available for the first time this weekend in our tasting room (3/1-3/3) to taste, and to take home in our 375ml bottle format. Famille will also be made available online through our website at the start of the new week (3/4), and you will see it hit some local shops throughout CA.*