“The Ministry of the Rye” was ordained through a collaboration between Broad Ripple Brewpub and Flat 12 from two different brewing processes.
“Back in February, Flat12 guys EZ (Erik Fox) and Sean Lewis and I got together to brew what I consider a long-played collaboration,” explained BRBP brewer Jonathon Mullens, as he poured glassfuls of the richly dark-hued brew from a first-pull pitcher. A group of us had gathered around BRBP’s outside tables on Oct. 9.
“We went with an Old Ale that has a playful amount of rye malt in it,” said Mullens. “Once fermentation was completed and with a bit of time for conditioning on my end, we allowed this brew to travel down to Flat12 to be aged in barrels until we brewed together at Flat12 in September. With seven barrels worth of this brew being put into barrels to blend with roughly 20 barrrels from their batch we have what is called The Ministry of the Rye,” added Mullens, as we sipped, commented and unashamedly requested a second tasting round, though Mullens warned the smooth mouthfeel was hiding a high ABV. We ordered up glasses of water to mitigate the effect.
“So what makes this a special collaboration?” continued Mullens, anticipating my question. “Well, the fact that I worked at Flat12 before I came to BRBP might have a bit to do with it. I am a firm believer in keeping relationships established — especially from where I came — particularly to keep an open line of opportunities like this. So it was special to work with great people that I have worked with before that I no longer to get see everyday.”
The next day I reached out to Flat12 brewer Eric Fox for his side of the collaboration. Fox added his comments via an email exchange.
“It was an honor to collab with the BRBP, given “Lord Hill’s” [a.k.a. John Hill, founder of BRBP] influence on all of us in the Indiana beer realm. Rye is, of course, Jon Mullens’ preferred grain, so that was an easy decision to make. Plus Flat12 likes to push boundaries a bit, hence the barrel-aged and straight blending process. Despite having less than 30% in whiskey barrels, the booziness comes through nicely,” commented Fox.
“Ministry of the Rye is a Rye Old Ale that is a blend of Willett Bourbon-barrel aged [from Flat12] and straight Ministry of the Rye [from BRBP]. It has a rich malty backbone that is layered with the wonderful notes of bourbon that sits on your palate like a good lap cat,” Mullens explained during the BRBP visit. “It rings in at 9% ABV and 42 IBU.”
“This brew was an adventure,” wrote Fox. “Roughly 1,800 pounds of grain went into our mashtun, about 600 pounds more than what we're used to. And with a large portion of it being rye, the mash gummed up and made the wort transfer incredibly slow. It was about an 18-hour brew day; but totally worth it. Mullens brought over his “Dual Citizenship” and “Mmmm, Cobwebs” to help the hours roll by.
“[Black Acre’s] BoB is such a rad fest because of (A) the beer involved, and (B) the crowd. You get the best of the best from both sides,” inserted Fox. “Breweries bring a great selection of seldom-seen offerings, and most of the attendees are folks who care about beer and have a constructive, critical palate. Fests like this are a way to share something you've worked hard for and to show your abilities as a brewery. Folks have really been enjoying this beer at Flat12. We don't regularly have a high-octane beer on, nor have we done an Old Ale in a while. Like our patrons, we always enjoy something new. It's great for sharing, and for breakfast.”
“The Brewpub and Flat12 have such a connected history, and I think this beer reflects that. Really, I just hope “Lord Hill” likes it,” concluded Fox
I assured him that John Hill does indeed like it. After our session at BRBP came to a close I saw John Hill carry a snifter of “The Ministry of The Rye” to visit with the BRBP regulars circling the fire pit on a clear-sky afternoon.
“Barrels on Bonna is the first beer festival in the Indianapolis area to focus exclusively on barrel-aged beers,” said Holly Miller, co-owner of Black Acre Brewing Company. “The beers may be aged in bourbon, wine, rum, tequila, gin, or other used liquor barrels to create one-of-a-kind beers.” More than twenty Indiana breweries were involved with the event and many more from other breweries.
While many of the beers aren't available anywhere outside of the festival, it is possible to still get a taste of The Ministry of Rye at both Flat12 and Broad Ripple Brewpub, but only for a short time.
“The Ministry of the Rye” is one of the one-of-a-kind beers to roll out at The Barrels on Bonna [BoB] Barrel-Aged Beer Festival, that took place this past Saturday, Oct. 15 at Black Acre Brewing Company’s production facility in Irvington.