CANvitational is back for its second year as the Midwest’s largest canned craft beer festival on Saturday, September 20 in downtown Indianapolis and I have the scoop on a new collaboration beer you do not want to miss.
Presented by Sun King Brewing, CANvitational was created as a homage to craft beer in a can, which has risen in popularity in the last few years for a number of reasons. Located on Georgia Street, over 40 breweries from across the United States will be present to share their craft beer, many you may not have seen or tasted before since several do not distribute to Indiana. This “Why We CANvitational” video has several craft brewers sharing why the shift towards canning is important and gives you a glimpse into what to expect at CANvitational.
Not only will you taste beers from brewers outside the Midwest, you’ll have the opportunity to taste the limited edition collaboration beer between Indianapolis’ Sun King Brewing and Naperville, Illinois’ Solemn Oath Brewery. I spoke with Clay Robinson and Dave Colt, co-owners of Sun King Brewing, and Tim Marshall, owner of Solemn Oath Brewery, to ask them about how the collaboration got started, what kind of beer it is and where you’ll be able to find it after the event.
This is the second collaboration beer between the two breweries, whose relationship goes back over a decade to when Clay, Dave and Tim were all working with beer at other Indianapolis breweries. “Clay was the first person I met when I moved to Indianapolis,” said Tim, and they all stayed in touch when Tim later moved back to Chicago to establish Solemn Oath Brewery. I like to think Clay was one of the first people I met when I moved to Indianapolis, thanks to Girls’ Pint Out tours at Sun King when the brewery was just getting started five years ago.
Solemn Oath is known for creating belgian-style brews, ones that may not be available the next time you return to the brewery. “Beer is such a seasonal beverage that we like to take that opportunity to expose people to as many seasonal styles as we can,” says Tim. Butterfly Flashmob, a Belgian IPA, had so much success that Solemn Oath decided to offer it year-round, otherwise most every beer can only be found at certain times of the year. All of their brews are released on draft, and a few are available in 22-ounce bombers. Sun King Brewing has brought them into the canning world with the collaboration brews and Solemn Oath has plans to begin canning their beers later this year.
Mythological Woder, a double red rye aleger, was the first collaboration between Sun King Brewing and Solemn Oath. At 70 IBUs and 7% ABV, this beer had a lot of rye with a deep amber color and smooth cool yeast flavor – aka my kind of beer. When I researched Solemn Oath and hear they primarily brew Belgian-style beers, I have to admit I was a little nervous. Belgians have grown on me, but they are not the beer I reach in the fridge for. Something about Solemn Oath’s relationship with Sun King Brewing must have them heading towards hops as both the first and second collaboration brew sway toward the hoppier side of beers.
30 Minute Coma is the second collaboration and is described as a Belgian Session IPA. “We were having a conversation about what we should brew and we were sort of BS-ing about it, which is how the Belgian Session IPA was born,” says Dave. “At about or just under 5% ABV, it isn’t really an IPA at that point, but because of recent terminology, we said ‘ah yes, it’s a belgian-style session.” The Belgian yeast used is light and brings a hint of spiciness similar to allspice or cloves. The hops are more like an IPA – “they were backloaded a lot so there’s a little bitterness but more so flavor around the characteristics of the hops. It’s also dry hopped so it has a little amped up hop nose to it,” says Dave.
“There’s a trend right now towards session beers,” says Tim. “When we are out at festivals, we like to have a beer that is drinkable and can be sipped on it all day. It should come in just under 5% alcohol – something you can really pound and drink a lot of.”
Yes, I agree! I love an imperial stout any day, but when it’s hot, humid and you are surrounded by lots of people, a crisp beer that is light but does not lack flavor is exactly what I want in my hand.
Those who are on the fence about hoppy beers will likely be pleased with the citrusy, floral hops used for this collaboration. “One of the great things about working with Sun King is that they have access to experimental hops we have never used before,” says Tim. Centennial, Mandarina and Azacca are the three hop varieties used for this collaboration, which create a subtle hop build that blends well with the Belgian yeast. “We started going out last year to hop selections in Washington where we started picking out what hops we wanted instead of just only purchasing what we thought was available to us,” says Dave. “They grow metric tons of hops out there, but you have to be able to fly out and make the time for it, something that not every brewery has the ability to do.”
So what’s in the name? “30 Minute Coma is sort of a fun, tongue-in-cheek homage to the name Permanent Funeral from 3 Floyds,” says Dave, who mentioned that Sun King has only collaborated on beers twice with 3 Floyds, twice with Oscar Blues, once with Broad Ripple Brewing Company and now twice with Solemn Oath.
I am stoked to taste this beer at CANvitational and I have plans to develop a recipe for youthat highlights the citrus and spice notes. Clay enjoys marinating a flank steak from Goose the Market in Sun King’s Osiris with a drizzle of Sriracha over the steak, left to chill with the flavors for a day or so. Sear it on the grill and you’ve got delicious fajitas. Dave’s suggestion for the 30 Minute Coma is to take the flavor of the beer and marry it with the dish by whipping up a citrus beer vinaigrette for a salad or use the beer with Mexican chorizo, since the hops can handle the spiciness in the food.
After CANvitational, you’ll be able to find 30 Minute Coma at Sun King and throughout their regular distribution locations in Indiana (I suggest Classic Spirits at 126th and Gray Road, ask for Rahul Mattox ;).
But wait, that’s not all! I am pleased to share that I have two general admission tickets to CANvitational to give away to one lucky Solid Gold Eats reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me which breweries you are looking forward to tasting at the event (find the list on the CANvitational website). BONUS POINTS if you tell me your tips and tricks for cooking with beer, or how you like to incorporate beer into your favorite dishes. I’ll pick a winner on Monday, September 15 and will notify you via email.