Relic Nano-A-Nano Belgian Style Black Rye IPA
1 22 oz bottle, $8, 7.5% ABV
Purchased at the brewery, Plainville
Even if this beer was terrible, which is decidedly wasn’t, it would still be cool. And not just for one reason, but for several.
Cool because I’ve come to befriend Relic owner and brewer Mark Sigman and appreciate his “nano” approach to commercial brewing. Super small batch, does what he wants and likes, and does it on his own schedule. And does it really well.
Cool because I’ve come to befriend Beer’d owner and brewer Aaren Simoncini and appreciate his not-so-nano approach to commercial brewing. Small batch, does what he wants and likes, and does it on his own schedule. And does it really well.
Cool because I’ve come to befriend Aron Daniels, aka social media’s CraftBrewGuy, who deserves almost as much credit for this collaboration than the brewers themselves.
Cool because “Nana-a-Nano” is a very, very clever name and the label is pretty great as well.
And finally, cool because I got bottle number 44 out of the 100 Relic released. As as we all know, the more limited the release, the cooler the beer. Right?
So check this out: Aron suggested two of Connecticut’s small breweries team up and make a beer together. This probably happened on the Twitter; I don’t remember. (Update: Yes, yes it did.))Somehow Relic Mark got to talking with Beer’d Aaren. They met in an abandoned parking lot somewhere. (Not really, but I like the imagery.) They met to have lunch somewhere (probably) and hatched the plan.
And that plan? They would both brew a “Belgian style black IPA” with the same ingredients and hop bill – but at their own breweries. It would be the same beer… but different.
“Drink to the gallant hero… This beer packs a punch”
At a very smooth 7.5% ABV, yeah, it does. What else does Relic have to say?
Inspired by Craft Brew Guy, this collaboration beer celebrates the strengths of our small but artful breweries. Belgian yeasts, rye and blackprinz malts and loads of Simcoe and Columbus hops combine to produce a resinous, spicy and toasty libation with a hint of chocolate.
That just sounds delicious. And it was. . I attended the release party at Relic in Plainville and had the unique opportunity to taste both versions side by side.
(I also had the unique opportunity to see Aaren’s Beer’d beard outside of the Beer’d Beard Cave in Stonington, which was fun.)
Both were very good. There were whispered conversations round the tasting room at Relic that night; “I like Beer’d’s better,” or, “Relic’s has that Relic taste, and I love that,” or, “This one is so much better. No, this one is. I love Beer’d. Oh, that’s Relic’s. I love Relic.”
You get the point. What’s interesting to me here is that Beer’d is known for hop-forward hop-bomb IPA’s (done very, VERY well I must point out) and Relic is known for rye and yeast and “Belgian.” So the collab here makes sense.
As fans of both breweries would expect, Relic’s as a little more rye-forward and yeasty. Beer’d’s was a little hoppier and resinous – and surprisingly, I think, a little chocolatier. There was a thick, creamy head on the Relic bottled version, as you can see here in the picture at the top. (You can also see The Hulk and Colossus, which would be an interesting mana-a-mano battle.) To my palate, there was something… wait for it… a-rye here though. Like, a bit too much going on. A little bit of trying to be everything to everybody, you know what I mean?
On the one hand, each brewery’s “notes” were present. On the other, that sort of muddled up the whole project – a project I fully endorse, by the way. Don’t get me wrong, the beer was very good, but instead of showcasing each brewer’s profiles, it mashed them together and took each down a notch.
Anyway, this was a great idea and I think it was pretty unusual as well. Most collaborations are brewed in one batch – in one place. And most are let-downs. Despite what I’ve said, this was not the case on either account with the Nano-a-Nano.
Well done Mark, Aaren and Aron.
(If you want to read about Beerd’s version, and you should because it’s a completely different write-up, go here.)
Overall Rating: B
Rating vs. Similar style: (Beerd’s) B-