Here at 7 Devils we get so excited for this moment. The Symbiosis is an annual seasonal stout that we make in collaboration with our good friends at Reach Break Brewing Co. in Astoria, Oregon. This delicious stout is secondarily fermented on 200+ pounds of dried black mission figs, giving the beer a deep fruity character and a bunch of extra sugars, sweetening the beer a bit and bringing up the alcohol by volume to somewhere around 9%. Careful, this beer will sneak up on you!
A lot of our regulars have asked us where we came up with the name “Symbiosis”. So if you’re also curious, here’s a little science lesson to get you up to speed. A symbiosis is a very close relationship between two or more organisms that is beneficial to at least one of the organisms. There are three different types of symbiotic relationships: parasitism, commensalism and mutualism. We’re all familiar with parasitism. This is when one organism benefits off of another and ultimately causes harm to that organism. A commensalism is a relationship in which one organism benefits while the other is neither harmed nor benefited. Finally, there is mutualism. This is when both organisms get some kind of benefit from the relationship. In other words, it’s a win-win! This is where our stout comes into play. Figs cannot be pollinated without the help of a very specific creature, the fig wasp. This is because figs don’t have exposed flowers. The thing that we eat from a fig tree is actually the stem of the flower (it’s not technically a fruit!), inside of which there are many flowers. There is a very small opening at the bottom of a fig that is only large enough for a very small organism to enter. The perfect size for a fig wasp. When the flowers are ready to be pollinated, their scent attracts the wasp who then climbs inside the fig and finds that it is the perfect safe place to lay her eggs and die. The eggs eventually hatch and the new fig wasps climb out of the fig, carrying with them the plant’s precious pollen. When these wasps are ready to lay their own eggs, that pollen will be deposited into a fig from another tree.
This isn’t where the connection ends between our stout and symbiotic relationships. We like to think of our relationship with Reach Break Brewing Co. as a mutualism. We get together once a year with Josh Allison, owner and brewmaster of Reach Break, to create this delicious product that we both get to enjoy the hell out of. Plus we love that guy! It’s a win-win for sure. If you head down to one of our locations and find out that you love this beer as much as we do, it will be a win-win-win!
Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the beer by leaving a comment below.
*Disclaimer: thanks to modern plant cultivation, there are many fig cultivars that do not require pollination in order to produce delicious fruit… so no fig wasps have been harmed in the making of the Symbiosis Fig Stout 😉