A Southern Symphony (Collaboration beer with Cigar City)


We love simple, elegant beers. Like our Bestie Pub Ale, for example. Nothing fancy, just a classic, easy beer.

Sometimes, though, the envelope must be pushed. To try to create something unprecedented, unique and amazing. Almost two years ago, in the summer of 2016, Wild Heaven Brewmaster Eric Johnson had the chance to do just that in collaboration with one of our favorite brewers in the country, Wayne Wambles of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.

Wayne and Eric had a vision to make a beer that was frankly kind of impractical and sounded either ridiculous (if you were counting dollars) or potentially mind-blowing. Trying to explain it, there was a telling of three different base lager batches with three different hop schedules and then aged in three kinds of barrels (wine, gin, and spirit) with the addition of two native Georgia grapes, scuppernongs and muscadines – one grape variety per barrel. Forty-five barrels, nearly every one unique. Oh, and the fruit additions were fermented with two different strains of brettanomyces. Hello, funky.

Our response: “Gentlemen, that’s not a beer, that’s a symphony.” Fast forward to early 2018 and Eric and Wayne sit down to find just the right blend for the final beer. At times over the previous eighteen months, there had been skepticism that the muscadine barrels would be worthy of inclusion, but a late rally brought them back into the picture. A total of 38 of the 45 barrels made the final blend, with perhaps thirty of those barrels being a unique combination of inputs.

And that final blend? Imagine a rich, woody white wine with all the beautiful funkiness of a brett beer. It’s one-of-a-kind. It will only be made this one time and we are grateful to Wayne and Cigar City Brewing for working with us to create such a tribute to creativity and innovation. Enjoy!

Nick Purdy