(with a little help from DC Beer)
On Saturday, January 4, 2020, at the Right Proper’s Shaw Brewpub, we’ll release Cuffing Saison. This beer was the result of combining forces with Black Brew Movement and Right Proper Shaw Brewpub’s head brewer, Bobby Bump.
The beer is the latest in our 10 Beers for 10 Years series. Having brewed beers with Rocket Frog, Sapwood Cellars, District Chophouse, Denizens, and Red Bear, Right Proper Shaw is the sixth collaborator.
This beer is unique in that it came about thanks to an article on the site. In August I wrote about the collective, “Black Brew Movement: 4 Leaders with a Passion.” Not long after the article went up I got a text from head brewer Bobby Bump, who asked if I could make an intro and if we’d like to brew some beer with Courtney Brown, Simon Cope, Phil Jackson, and Charles Rominiyi.
We asked Black Brew Movement for a bit more background behind Cuffing Saison:
Cuffing Saison is a spin–off of the pop culture term “Cuffing Season”, the time of year where people are looking to be in relationships (usually the colder months). Charles introduced the name to the BBM group one day and they loved it!
This name, beer style, and flavor profile were all carefully chosen to represent and cater to the growing presence of black and hip hop culture within craft beer.
We hope that Cuffing Saison can be a fun, easy–drinking beer for the masses–as well as a great starter beer for non-traditional beer drinkers.
Meeting with BBM and Bobby Bump on the last day of August, we discussed the sour, funky, and ”clean” beers Bump had brewed at the brewpub. It’s always a treat to see what’s fermenting and discuss the finer points typically often left out of the drinking experience: how much carbonation changes the flavor of a beer. Those tiny, scrubbing bubbles completely alter beer’s texture and taste.
We sampled through a semi-guided tasting with Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne; White Bicycles; saisons; and pub exclusives. We discussed flavor profiles we liked and disliked. We talked about apple pie, peach cobbler, and peach-flavored vodka. Some of us had never eaten peach cobbler and some of us had never drunk CÎROC™ Peach.
We thought a beer between somewhere around 7% ABV would be best, as well as a saison with the Right Proper Brewpub’s mixed saison strains of yeast, having tried a few of Bump’s. At the end of the day, we were assigned homework to go out and try to find beers with peach and honey in (and out of) market to see further what we liked and didn’t like.
Perhaps the easiest to find was RJ Rockers’ Son of a Peach. I revisited this beer because it had been many years since I last had it. However, we’ll be surprised if Cuffing Saison tastes anything like that. Editor Jake Berg, who chopped a few dozen peaches for the brew, thinks it’ll be closer to Avery’s Perzik Saison, though drier on the finish and slightly hoppier.
Cuffing Saison was brewed with Pilsner and Pale malts, as well as flaked oats, Honey malt, and honey. It was hopped with Magnum, Azzaca, Idaho 7, and Belma hops. Additionally, peaches and peach purée were added to the beer. The beer is like life, bitter and sweet. At 7.8% ABV, it’s bigger than Brasserie Dupont’s Saison Dupont (6.5%) but smaller than their Avec Les Bon Voeux (9.5%).