Say hello to Primal Elements – an out-of-this-world sour ale brewed with mango, pineapple, and tangerine. Bright, aromatic & juicy, this super-drinkable new release is delightfully refreshing, and it’s available for purchase online and at our three taproom locations.

Primal Elements marks a first for Barrelworks in a few ways – the first time we’ve used mango and pineapple in sour beer, and our first-ever canned offering. We sat down and chatted with Master Blender Jim Crooks to learn more about this exciting new offering.

Can as a Concept

Barrelworks has always been modeled after the beautiful, historic sour beers of Belgium – featuring similar yeast, bacteria, and aging techniques in wood. With the explosion of sour beers and cans stateside in the last few years, we were eager to try our hand at a canned offering – and this required going back to the drawing board.

“We conceptualized this beer a dozen different ways. We studied hundreds of products to get a large understanding of what’s going on in the market and what we find appealing. At the brewery, we all have a very similar idea of what drinkability tastes, smells and feels like for a low acidity sour ale.”  – Jim Crooks

At the start, we thought a canned release needed to be both more tempered in acidity and bolder in fruit character, be drinkable both in the finest beer glassware and enjoyable straight out of the can on a hot day. Our work was cut out for us.

Jim sourced beautiful, fresh frozen pineapple chunks from Costa Rica and Mango from Mexico after evaluating a dozen different varieties.  We try to source from California as much as possible, but tropical fruits are best grown abroad. Both fruits went into French oak foeders for over a year where they transformed the base sour beer into something magical. We also found an amazing source of California tangerines.  At the end of this process we had three separate bold and beautiful fruit beers.

Blending Fruit Beers

Jim went to work with the three separate fruit beers and found a balanced blend that brought elements of all three fruits to the forefront while balancing both sweetness and acidity. The final blend packs almost four pounds of fruit per gallon, more than any other Barrelworks beer to date.

With the final blend in tank, we brought in some friends to help us can and label Primal Elements. Over one day, Barrelworks saw a first and we were thrilled to see shiny cans and bright labels roll off the line, ready to quench thirsts.

“This is a project that hopefully opens the door to help people understand that barrel aged beer doesn’t necessarily mean overtly sour, and that tart flavors can work harmoniously with sweetness and fruit in a really well-balanced way. This beer is a culmination of years working to make sour ales more appealing to people and open their minds to what Barrelworks has to offer.”  – Jim Crooks

Primal Elements is the first canned offering by Firestone Walker Barrelworks, and with only 380 cases available, it’s around for a very limited time. Come explore this bold new beer with us by picking up a can at one of our three taproom locations or ordering online.