Contributed by Monica Simpson-Ayon
Master Brewer Kerry McGinnis of Red Clay Brewing Company has partnered up with Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji of Miura Vineyards to create a line of experimental brews that introduce globally inspired flavors for the world’s first ever Double Master Collaboration Beer series.
Each beer was brewed at Red Clay Brewing Company at Opelika’s first brewery in central lower Alabama. Red Clay Brewing is firmly entrenched in the south and is named after the red clay earth found in Alabama. While Miura hails from Northern California and is named after the most legendary and mythical breeder of the most famous bulls in Spain, Emmanuel Kemiji and Kerry McGinnish found a path to partnership for this new lineup of globally inspired and complex beers.
While oenobeers (beers brewed using grapes or beers aged in wine barrels) are rising in popularity, there’s never been a collaboration where a Master sommelier and a Master brewer made a canned beer together.
The Miura “Double Master” series features three complex beers that change the notion of how beer should be perceived. Each beer celebrates the flavors and culture of a different geographical location that only add to their versatility, and reflect the unique hand-crafted approaches shared between McGinnis and Emmanuel as masters of flavor.
“The interesting thing about making wine and beer is that both the importance of the quality of the ingredients and where they come from cannot be understated. Grapes like hops, malts, yeasts and even water each have a unique signature that gives the final product it’s unique character,” said Kemiji of the new Miura line.
Finding the right balance was hard-earned with many taste panels and late nights.
“Tasting sessions were fun. We would evaluate, agree on what changes to make, smoke a cigar and then produce another test batch,” said McGinnis.
Ultimately they came up with three signature flavors to debut the collaboration: West Indies Pale Ale, Forbidden Blade and Dark Cape.
The West Indies pale ale celebrates and honors the complex and historic brewing tradition of the tropics. This ale is made with chocolate imported from the Dominican Republic, then aged in tequila barrels to create a more robust flavor profile. This beer retains its uniqueness in its subtle spices as well as its luscious tone.
The Forbidden Blade is a black pilsner that features traditional Chinese flavors of Meyer lemons and black rice, or “forbidden rice.” Black rice was marked as forbidden because it was reserved for the Emperor, and this beer celebrates it as a delicacy. These infusions help the beer emphasize the complex and aromatic qualities that define this crisp brew.
Dark Cape is a Caribbean stout that lives up to its name, as it presents a thick, dark stout filled with intricate flavors. It is flavored with Café Baldacci single estate coffee from Puerto Rico, and aged in rum barrels. This is a stout with character: rich, black, bitter and sweet, inexplicably all at the same time.
The Double Master Collaboration Beers are launching this month coast-to-coast hitting shelves in Arizona, California and making waves in Puerto Rico. This expansion of Red Clay Brewing company’s lineup has been well-received and interest from Miura followers has been strong.
“Reception has been positive beyond what I could have imagined as people appreciate the quality, story and thoughtfulness of what we have created,” said Kemiji.
Red Clay Brewing Co: Opelika’s first brewery! Address: (704 N. Railroad Ave. Opelika, AL) Featuring Southern inspired stouts, lagers and ciders, Red Clay Brewing showcases award-winning craft brew. Website: www.redclaybrewing.com | Instagram: @redclaybrew
Miura Vineyards & Emmanuel Kemiji: The San Francisco Chronicle named Kemiji as one of the “10 Winemakers to Watch”. He has also been a regular wine judge at the Los Angeles County Fair and the San Francisco International Wine Competition. The wines that are produced by Miura are wines that Kemiji, from his experience as a major wine buyer for 18 years, feels represents the finest vineyards California has to offer — sites such as Pisoni, Rochioli, Williams Ranch and Hudson. Miura Vineyards (located in Napa, California) has concentrated on Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The bottlings are distinctive. They feature an abstract etching on the bottle of a bull with a red dot for an eye. www.miuravineyards.com | www.facebook.com/miuravineyards.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OPELIKA OBSERVER