Way back in December, Carmen, Sam, and Jonah traveled up the coast to Astoria, OR to visit our good friend Josh Allison at Reach Break Brewing. Together, they brewed Josh’s annually released Symbiosis Fig Stout Sour. Shortly after, Josh came down to Coos Bay to help us brew our version of the Symbiosis Fig Stout. Check out our previous blog post about this very special collaboration beer!
So, why are we blogging about this beer now, over half a year after we brewed it and after ours is already gone? Well, it’s because Reach Break’s Sour Symbiosis has only just been released! We will be serving Reach Break’s Sour Symbiosis at both locations. Supply is limited so get it while you can! Are Sours not your thing? We will also be putting a never-before-released Barrel-Aged Symbiosis on tap as well, so you’ll be able to try both renditions of the Symbiosis side by side!
Compared to our 7 Devils Symbiosis, which is a more traditional ale, Reach Break puts their own spin on the Symbiosis by souring it! A wild farmhouse-style ferment by a special mixed culture native to Astoria is left to age on sliced black figs for several months. The result is a decadent stout, similar to our Symbiosis, with an added complexity from the souring process. Delicious notes of cocoa and honey are layered within a complimentary Brett presence that buzzes across the top of the rich stout body and culminates in a bright, spritzy finish. Enjoy this special variation within the Symbiosis family of beers!
The annual Craft Brewers Conference (CBC 2022) hosted by the Brewers Association was held last week in Minneapolis, MN and our brewers Sam and Jonah were lucky enough to attend! They got to delve into the world of craft beer along with over 10,000 other attendees over the course of five days. They returned to 7 Devils with a wealth of new information and ideas of how to improve their craft, along with a bunch of fun memories and experiences. Below is Jonah’s day-by-day summary of what our two brewers got up to!
Sunday, May 1st: I knew from the very start that this trip was going to be amazing. About half the people on our flight from Portland to Minneapolis were brewers or industry people, all heading to the same place for the same reason: to attend the 2022 Craft Brewers Conference.
After flying into Minneapolis Sunday night, we met up with some of Sam’s good friends for a wonderful dinner and drinks. What a great way for Sam to return to Minneapolis, where he lived for several years and got his start in the craft brewing industry! Shout out to Adam and the great folks at The Butcher’s Tale in downtown Minneapolis, that was a killer meal that I will not soon forget! We checked into our hotel and got an early night in preparation for the busy days to come.
Monday, May 2nd: The CBC officially kicks off! Sam and I picked up our badges for the CBC and explored the Minneapolis Convention Center before heading to our first workshops. Sam attended an in-depth workshop on Draught Beer Quality (draught line cleaning and maintenance, proper pouring and serving, etc.) while I went to a workshop on Lab Procedures for the brewery (yeast cell counting, contamination testing, etc.). We met up after our workshops for a fun German beer and hop tasting, where we got to try a handful of german-style beers with newly bred German hops that are just hitting the US market. Afterwards, we went to the Welcome Reception and listened to a great musical performance by Ner-D, an awesome Minneapolis-based band, and got to try a lot of cool beers from around the country. It was wonderful to see brewers and industry folk from around the world coming together to share a beer and dance off some of the lingering stress of the pandemic.
Tuesday, May 3rd: We attended the official Welcome/State of the Industry Address, where we heard from several key members of the Brewers Association regarding the general trajectory of the craft beer industry, and some of the hurdles we are facing. We were also welcomed to Minneapolis by mayor Jacob Frey, who addressed the social unrest in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd, the effects of the pandemic, and the recent spike in inflation across the US. He expressed his thanks for our industry’s contributions to the city and our patronage to local breweries and restaurants, as well as how the CBC marked the beginning of a revitalization of the twin cities area. Following the Welcome Address, Sam and I got our first glimpse at the BrewExpo America Trade Show, a massive, sprawling exposition of vendors and industry-related businesses. It would take us hours to see everything there, so we took a quick stroll around before heading to our first seminars of the day.
Sam and I attended a short series of research presentations from university researchers around the country on a wide array of subjects before splitting up for two different seminars. I attended a very interesting seminar on Hop Creep, a phenomenon in the brew process that has only recently begun to be understood by brewers and that we at 7 Devils encounter occasionally. We will be experimenting with some suggested ways to avoid Hop Creep in the coming months. Sam attended a seminar on Company Culture - essentially how any brewery is more than just the beer it creates, but also the people it employs and the working environment it cultivates. He also attended a seminar on sustainable brewing and how to reduce your brewery’s carbon footprint, something we at 7 Devils have been working towards since we first opened. Sam learned some interesting tips and tricks that we will be employing in our brewery very soon. While Sam was learning about sustainable brewing, I went to a seminar on the effects of climate change on the supply chains in the beer industry, specifically barley/malt supply. Hearing from barley farmers, maltsters, and brewers all on the same panel was a very informative experience.
After we wrapped up at the conference on Day 2, Sam and I hopped on the train and went to an industry party at Surly Brewing Company. What a great time! We got to tour their brewery, one of the biggest craft breweries in Minneapolis, and drank a lot of great beer while meeting and greeting other craft brewers and industry people from around the country. We later visited Lake Monster Brewing, where Sam got his first craft beer job! Needless to say, we had a great time and were out a bit later than we had originally planned (never a bad thing!).
Wednesday, May 4th: The fourth was with us on Wednesday! We started our day at the conference by attending the Keynote Address from Natalie Cilurzo, president and co-owner of Russian River Brewing Company. Her stories of California wildfires and pandemic-related travel complications were a great example of the many unique challenges the world is throwing at us. She praised the flexibility and creativity that brewers around the world have shown in recent years to address the myriad of challenges we are all dealing with. She also emphasized the need for Purpose in the craft brewing world - in short, why do we make beer? Do we make beer just for fun? For money? Or is there a greater impact we can have on our communities and our world through our craft? And what is the value of that impact? Her words really resonated with us and reminded me of our Purpose at 7 Devils: to bring our community together, to enrich the lives of our neighbors, and to make some lasting memories with our friends over a pint of delicious beer.
After the keynote address, Sam and I spent some more time at the BrewExpo. There were literally thousands of vendors from all sides of the craft beer world. We saw a lot of really cool brewing equipment, learned more about the ingredients we use and where they come from, drank a lot of cool beers (have I mentioned that yet?) and made some great connections with retailers. Shout out to the people who were dressed up as Star Wars characters! After strolling the Expo for a few hours, Sam and I split up again to attend some seminars. I went to a fun seminar on Hop Breeding, and got to sniff some brand new, unreleased hop varieties while Sam got to learn about Czech Pilsners from the experts of pilsner-ing themselves (and got to try some legit Czech pilsners in the process!).
Lastly, I attended a seminar on genetically engineered yeast, a relatively new technology in the brewing world. Hearing different takes and opinions on genetically engineered organisms in general, as well as specifically brewer’s yeast, was very fun and dare I say entertaining. The debate around GMOs is far reaching and complex, and to hear different industry experts give their thoughts was enlightening. Meanwhile, Sam was learning about starch conversion in mashing, and how fermentable and un-fermentable sugars affect the brew process. We reconvened and had a beer before meeting up with Sam’s old friends for some amazing Peruvian food in St. Paul. We ended the day at a Japanese whiskey bar in downtown Minneapolis, where we had some incredible cocktails before wandering back to our hotel.
Thursday, May 5th: Our last day at the CBC! We packed our things early in the morning and dropped them off at the coat check before heading back to the BrewExpo one last time. It took three days, but we finally got to see everything the Expo had to offer. Sam and I split up again, and I attended a seminar on Pumps in the Brewery, which covered all the different types of pumps brewers use and what they are used for. Sam attended a seminar on Beer Distribution, and the many challenges facing breweries that distribute far and wide. This made us very grateful for our Master Distributor, Dana, and all the hard work he puts in to get our beer out to thirsty Oregonians!
For our last seminars of the CBC, Sam attended a seminar about electricity and electrical safety in the brewery. His biggest takeaway from that: if there’s an electrical problem, call your brewery’s maintenance guy! We have one of those, right? While he was trying to decipher complex electrical physics equations, I was learning about Malt Analysis and the standardized metrics used for the malt that we use. It was very helpful for understanding where certain numbers and percentages given to us by the maltsters come from and what they mean for brewing. Sam and I met up for a quick beer after our seminars before saying goodbye to the CBC, grabbing our luggage, and heading to the airport.
In Summary: The Craft Brewers Conference was such a fun experience for both Sam and I. We learned a lot about the industry and have a lot of promising ideas for improving our beers at 7 Devils. We were both surprised by the quality of some of the craft beers we tasted while in Minneapolis (some were good, some…. Not so much) and we both feel very confident in our beer’s quality. But, the burden of craft brewers everywhere is to always be improving and never compromising on your quality. So in that spirit we will be experimenting with some of our processes on brew days to see if we can really dial in some of the improvements we envisioned while at CBC.
We also wanted to deeply thank Annie and Carmen for sending us on such an awesome and informative trip, as well as for taking care of the brewery for us while we were gone! You guys rock!
If you want to know more about our time at CBC, the things we learned, the beers we tried, the people we met, or anything else regarding our craft, we are always happy to chat and share our love for craft beer! Cheers! -Jonah
It’s that time of year again… Symbiosis Fig Stout Release!
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 😉
Coming Soon: The Elahka Ale!
Our newest seasonal beer is set to be released on December 12th! This beer has been especially fun for us, because it’s a benefit beer for the effort to bring Sea Otters back to the Oregon Coast! Here at 7 Devils, we love to give back to our community, and we'll take just about any excuse to do that while drinking a delicious beer. Read on to learn more about sea otters in Oregon and the Elakha Alliance beer challenge.
Many of you may know that Oregon has a dark history when it comes to sea otters. During the fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries, the sea otter population here on the Oregon Coast was hunted to extinction. If you've ever seen one up close, or had the privilege of feeling their fur, you know why. They have the densest fur of any mammal on the planet, consisting of over 1 million hairs per square inch on some parts of their body! Unfortunately, since then sea otters have not returned to Oregon, which has had a negative effect on the resiliency of our coastal ecosystems.
Sea otters are considered a "keystone species", which means that they have a large impact on their natural ecosystem and without their presence, the ecosystem changes drastically. More specifically, sea otters have to eat constantly to maintain their body temperature and prevent hypothermia, and one of their main prey items is the purple sea urchin. Without sea otters, the purple sea urchin population has exploded, resulting in the destruction of kelp forests (sea urchins eat kelp!) Kelp forests are essential for the health of our coast, as they provide sanctuary for a variety of animals, including fish and crabs, which are both culturally and economically important for humans. Kelp forests have many other benefits to our coastal ecosystems, which you can read more about here. Restoring Oregon's sea otter population could have immense effects on the resiliency of our coastal ecosystems, and would rebuild a lost cultural connection for the indigenous coastal community.
The Elakha Alliance, an organization formed by tribal, nonprofit and conservation leaders, is dedicated to re-establishing a sea otter population on the Oregon Coast within the next 50 years. 7 Devils and many other breweries in Oregon have teamed together to promote awareness about this organization and their inspirational goal by crafting beers to celebrate the sea otter. The challenge was to brew a beer that "reflects the deep, luxurious fur and sleek, supple movements of sea otters, their fierce intelligence and cleverness, their need for social connections and playfulness", using Maris Otter grain for at least 70% of the grain bill. To make this beer even more fun, the Elakha Alliance is hosting a judging event in January to award the beers with the most otter fur-like color, the most clever name, the most creative logo/artwork design, the most eccentric recipe, and the Elakha fan favorite. Stay tuned to see how we do in the competition! If you'd like to learn more about the Elakha Alliance and perhaps make a donation to their cause, visit their website here!
Our entry into the competition has been so much fun for our brewers to design. It is an amber-colored kolsch that we believe to be the perfect beer to sip on during those cold, rainy winter days. We decided to make the coastal connection a tiny bit stronger by incorporating dulse, a red algae that grows here on the coast. You may be thinking, "Seaweed in beer?! Why would you ever do that?!"... well, we're not the first to do it! People have been putting seaweed in beer for ages. It is known to add earthy, nutty and salty flavors, as well as creating a richer mouthfeel that makes the beer that much more indulgent. It is commonly used as a clarifying agent in the brewing process, resulting in a clearer, more beautiful product. The dulse that we are using was grown by Oregon Dulse in Bandon. Read more about their operation here.
Finally, we want to give a shout out to Coos Bay local, Arusha Dittmer, for designing the artwork for our Elakha Ale. Arusha is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and it goes without saying that this cause is close to her heart. Thanks Arusha for your beautiful contribution to this project! We appreciate you!
Comment below and let us know what you think of the Elakha Ale!
The 7 Devils Brew Crew
One of our most highly anticipated fall seasonal brews is set to be released this week! The Chinook Redd Ale is brewed every year around the time of the Chinook salmon run in the Coos River to celebrate the natural bounty of our community and educate our customers on the protection of our local salmon population. And no, we didn't spell "redd" wrong! Read on to find out exactly what a redd is.
We brew this beer with maris otter malt and certified “salmon safe” hops for a warm salmon-egg red color and a toasty malt forward flavor. It is the perfect beer to drink on a foggy fall day on the Oregon Coast. What exactly does “salmon safe” mean? Well, Oregon happens to be one of the largest producers of hops in the entire country. And it is home to a variety of salmon species. Many hop growers in the state aren’t practicing salmon-safe hop production techniques, and their fertilizers and other agricultural wastes get washed into nearby streams and rivers, polluting native salmon habitat. When using salmon-safe hops, we are ensuring that the beer we brew isn’t contributing to pollution and destruction of the waterways that are essential to our salmon populations.
To further our mission with this beer, we also donate some of the proceeds from this beer to two local organizations that work to improve salmon habitat in our area, the Coos and Coquille Watershed Associations. These organizations work locally to support the ecological health of the Coos and Coquille Basins. They partner with a diverse array of stakeholders who all believe that together we can accomplish important work to recover salmon populations, restore native plant communities, support our local natural resource economies and engage the community in stewardship opportunities. The organizations work with the local community and landowners to develop and implement ecological restoration projects that restore habitats and improve water quality, often on working forests and ranches. Additionally, they monitor current conditions and conduct research to better understand the effectiveness of ongoing restoration activities in the watersheds. If you’d like to learn more about these two incredible organizations and/or contribute a personal donation, visit their websites! https://cooswatershed.org/ and https://www.coquillewatershed.org/
Now, as promised above, I’m going to explain exactly what a “redd” is. When a female salmon is ready to deposit her eggs, she must first build a nest (known as a “redd”) so that the current of the river doesn’t wash her eggs away. She does this by swimming down to the bottom of the stream and moving her body swiftly upwards, pulling bits of gravel up with her and allowing the current to wash them downstream. Typically, they build several redds, usually one just a few feet upstream from the last. This way, as she builds more, the gravel that is dug up from the newest redd will land on the eggs deposited in the one directly downstream, covering them up and protecting them from predators and other environmental risks.
Have you had a chance to try this delicious beer yet? If so, leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.
Check out some of the photos!
Every year, we here at 7 Devils like to sneak out for a retreat with the whole crew. This year we went to La Pine, OR to visit the snow. Little did we know that when we left it would be snowing in Coos Bay! It was a beautiful trip, and we all survived the drive over the pass. We rented a 12 passenger van, and struck out to find some adventure on the hills. Half of us went snowboarding, while the other half braved the trails up to Tumalo Peak. We rented a beautiful house that sleeps 30 people! So much fun was had, as we played music, sat in the hot tub, had meals together, and played games into the wee hours of the night. Thanks to all of our wonderful crew for joining us for the fun! And thank you to all our customers who support us, and continue to make the pub a fun place to work and relax! Much Love!
In addition to having four 7 Devils tap handles at their growler fill station, The Beverage Barn and Bandon, OR carries a ton of Oregon craft beer, wine, and spirits. This is the place to go for specialty beverages, so check them out if you're shopping for a special occasion or birthday gift!
This is Jim at Ashworth’s in North Bend. Ashworth’s stock the full spectrum of 7D offerings as well as 3 rotating handles at his growler station.
Nick with a Blonde and Josh with a Session... Tree Acres, North Lakeside on 101 carries a full line of Seven Devils beer in 22oz bottles.