Side Project Brewing's latest stout features Sump Coffee – St. Louis Business Journal – The Business Journals

Editor’s note: New Beer Alert! is a new St. Louis Business Journal online feature born selfishly from my thirst for craft beer and a belief in the power of innovation. The best craft breweries, in my mind, are the ones that continually innovate with new styles or variations on classics. And the best brewers are alchemists whose curiosity leads them continually down new paths using hops, barley and water.
New Beer Alert! is intended to get behind the stories of newly released beers in a way that celebrates innovation, but also highlights the creative thought and business decisions that go into their creation. If you’re a brewer, you can fill out the New Beer Alert! survey here to submit for this feature. You can see the first installment in the series, published last week, by clicking here.
— Erik Siemers, editor, St. Louis Business Journal
This New Beer Alert! entry comes to us from Maplewood-based Side Project Brewing, a specialist in barrel-aged beers, specifically saisons and wild/sour ales. True story: As I was preparing to move here from Portland a few years ago, a brewer there I respect told me that visiting Side Project was what inspired him to want to own a brewery. That gave me a sense of the brewery’s prestige from within the brewing community.
Owner and brewer Cory King tells us about one of his latest creations, a super-strong, barrel-aged imperial stout made in collaboration with another group of St. Louis beverage artisans at Sump Coffee.
The beer: Derivation Blend #16
Beer style: Barrel-aged imperial stout
Description of the beer, including alcohol by volume (ABV) and International Bitterness Units (IBU): Derivation Blend #16 is aged in a bourbon barrel and finished with Sump Coffee, barrel-aged Maple Syrup and Ugandan vanilla beans. 15% ABV, 60 IBUs.
Tell us the story of this beer. What inspired it?: We always have about 300 or more of bourbon barrels aging stout at all times. We are always looking at great, complementary ingredients to infuse into our barrel-aged stouts when we are ready for a new beer. Coffee and maple are a great duo of flavors that work amazingly well together, and then we love what vanilla can do to the final flavors.
Why is this new beer a good business decision and what decisions did you make with cost and profit margin in mind? Our highest end beers, ones that only come around once a year or so, continue to excite us and our customer base. It allows them a great opportunity to visit us and have something special that no one else can try (unless you visit us in Maplewood) and won’t be around for very long. Our business was founded on the face-to-face interaction, giving the customer a great experience while educating them on who we are and why we do what we do. Our beer was never meant to be just another “brand” on the shelves of a grocery store. We use the best ingredients we can get our hands on, which is expensive — so our beers are often very expensive — but that is what we love to do and why many of our customers love us. If they didn’t think our beer was worth it, we would have had to change our model and our margins long ago. We are very lucky that our processes, our choice of our ingredients, and the expense we incur to produce these beers are all accepted and even loved by our fans.
Where can people find it? All three of our locations: Side Project Brewing, 7458 Manchester Road, Maplewood; The Side Project Cellar : 7373 Marietta Ave., Maplewood; Shared and Pizza Champ, 2657 Lyle Ave., Maplewood.
What is the retail price? $75 for bottle, on site only.
How long will the new beer be available? Maybe a couple of weeks.
About the brewers: Cory King is brewer and owner of Side Project, with his wife, Karen King. “We are almost 10 years old now, but have been brewing for more than 15 yrs.”
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