Get ready to embark on a genre-bending journey as seven breweries from around the world unveil "The Terroir Project" — an experimental crossover between beer and wine.
On Sept. 29 from noon to 4 p.m. at West Ranch in Los Olivos, each of the participating breweries will present their own interpretation of a shared recipe that draws from both the grain and the grape. Guest breweries and wineries will also be on hand to share their creations.
"The Terroir Project is a collaborative experiment into the emergent world of beer-wine hybrids,” said Jeffers Richardson, director at Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks, which is steering the event. “It’s an exploration into how ‘terroir’ — or sense of place — drives what we taste.”
From the West Coast to the East Coast, London to New Zealand, each participating brewery was invited to produce their own distinct hybrid, but with three binding stipulations: they all had to use the same grain bill; the same maturation period in barrels; and the same co-fermented percentage of wort and wine grapes. The kicker: all grapes had to be grown within 100 miles of each brewery.
“Obviously, it was a little easier for some of us to source local wine grapes, but everyone pulled it off,” Richardson said. “This really gives us a baseline for how these local ingredients shape the finished product. We are all making the same hybrid beer — and yet the outcomes will be quite different.”
The idea for the Terroir Project was conceived in 2016, starting with casual conversation among brewers. A recipe was discussed and developed, and brewing and maturation began in 2017 at each of the breweries.
“I can’t wait to taste what everyone came up with,” Richardson said. “I think this is going to be a real eye-opening experience for brewers and consumers alike.”
The Terroir Project event on Sept. 29 is limited and intimate by design, and will showcase experimental one-off beers that are not available anywhere else. Tickets are $65 and include Terroir Project tastings from the seven participating breweries: Beavertown (London), Barrelworks (Buellton), Garage Project (Wellington, New Zealand); Jester King (Austin); Side Project (St. Louis), Sierra Nevada (Chico) and Trillium (Boston). A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pacific Conservatory Theatre.
Tickets also include tastings from guest breweries such as Russian River Brewing Company and The Bruery; and from guest wineries such as Andrew Murray Vineyards, Foxen, Thacher and Whitcraft. Admission also includes a commemorative tasting glass and live music.
For tickets and information: www.firestonebeer.com/brewery/terroir-project.php