That's what we're drinking now. How do you make it? [SeaQuench] is a mash of three styles—so basically another "Fuck you!" to the Reinheitsgebot. [Laughs.] We brew a kölsch—which is a very yeast-friendly, low-acid beer—overnight in a big tank. And then the next day we add a gose that has salts from Maine and from the Chesapeake Bay, and then we add a Berliner weisse with about 25 percent of its fermentable sugars coming from lime juice. So your first sip is going to be mostly the sea salt, but by the second sip you'll get the lime juice. It's a little tart, low-alcohol, really refreshing. This and the oysters, that's probably my favourite pairing at the restaurant right now.
We were labeled disrespectful, at best. Adding raisins to beer? We got so much shit.
Did you ever consider, I guess, simplifying your recipes? We never thought about dumbing anything down. Maybe for a night, when my wife and I hadn't cashed a check in six weeks and I'd drive to Pittsburgh for a beer dinner and nine people would show up. But the next time we'd go, 14 people would show up, so I saw these little glimmers of hope. I believed people would eventually come around.When did that turnaround happen? Probably late '99, when we came out with Midas Touch and 90 Minute IPA. Putting those two beers out at the same time was great because drinks like Midas existed long ago, but imperial IPAs are strictly an American invention. My friend Greg [Koch, co-founder of Stone Brewing], he actually did the research and found that 90 Minute was the first-ever imperial IPA. So we came out with Midas, based on this 2,700-year-old recipe that gave us a soapbox to say that long before the Reinheitsgebot people were brewing with things like grapes and honey and saffron. And then at the same time, we had 90 Minute, which was taking the industry forward.
I always think, Imagine if I worked at Anheuser-Busch and I spent a year working on a scrapple recipe? I'd be fired right away.