COMSTOCK PARK — Contrary to popular belief, Perrin Brewing Company’s Killing Craft series is not about destroying the art of craft brew and craft ideals.
It’s exactly the opposite.
“The idea came from a negative place in the market, and we thought, ‘how can we make it a positive?'” says Jarred Sper, brewery co-owner.
Killing Craft is a tongue-in-cheek reference to defining the art of craft, widening perception and vision on what craft beer is, what it should be, what it can become.
The mission statement — “To support and defend craft beer from all threats, foreign and domestic, macro and nano. We will strive to accomplish this by producing clean, consistent and imaginative products” — is driven by a sincere desire to make quality product. It’s not about calling all the shots, declaring Perrin’s beer ‘the best beer’ — it’s about respecting the art, talent and time that goes into making a quaffable product.
“We’re gonna put ourselves out there, this is why we’re doing what we’re doing. We’re holding ourselves accountable for our product. We’re not pointing fingers at people. We just want to make sure we’re making a good quality product,” Sper shares.
John Stewart, Production Manager, echoes this sentiment. “This comes at a moment when [the production team] is trying to define what we felt too. A lot of us are quality control people — and this is something that resonated with the guys.”
Perhaps this is a hard conversation to have. Perhaps we’ve defined ‘craft’ too narrowly, or let it morph into something it shouldn’t be — confined to muddy, dark beers with a high ABV or overly hopped nightmares. Beer that — technically — isn’t good. Artisans take their time. They care, wholeheartedly, about their product. It’s what defines them, what they’ve built themselves around-this product, this lovingly created, carefully thought-out gem. What is craft, then, if we are deviating from quality?
“Good beer is good for everybody. Bad beer is bad for everybody. I’m not saying that we knock it out of the park every time, but if we had to dump a beer — which sucks, that’s the worst thing in the world — but if we have to, we’ll do it,” said Stewart. ”
We’re focusing internally, and we hope that it inspires everyone else to do that too.”
Killing Craft is about raising the bar across the board, not by saying ‘I’m better than you’, but by creating conversation and reminding everyone, as the industry grows, of why they are part of it in the first place.
This series will have some taproom only specialties — starting with Juicy, which was released in September. A super duper hyper-local (handpicked) hopped to death hoppy version of their grapefruit IPA purposefully brewed under the August super moon. It’s silly, it’s overdone, but it’s still balanced and drinkable-and that’s the point. This is available now in the taproom, for those who understand the joke.
22-ounce bottles of two different brews will be available Michigan wide just in time for the holidays. In a MittenBrew exclusive, we’re privy to the upcoming names and styles of ‘Killing Craft’ that will grace your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.
The first releases — both available starting Tuesday — Kill ‘Em All (a Russian Imperial Stout) and With Kindness (an English style Barleywine Ale) are the joking, yet genuine, initial bottled brews. To follow will be a 100% Brettanomyces (White Labs Brett Trois) mango ale — called You Bretta Run! — available on draft only, scheduled for release in December.
February brings Juicys’ cousin, Imperial Kona or Big Kona. “It will be a big crazy form of Kona with special coffee and chocolates added, just like juicy was a crazy adaptation of grapefruit,” says Stewart.
Then, expect a full-bodied, kick to your pants, at least (hopefully over) 14% abv barrel-aged Porter — also available only on tap. Tentatively called Vietnamese Porter — ala “The Big Lebowski” — referencing a quote from the movie. Ten bonus points if you can figure out the quote and why this Porter has the name it does. Post-barrel ingredients are yet to be determined.
Ultimately, Killing Craft is about persevering and preserving, raising the bar and holding brewers accountable for making damn good beer. In the end, isn’t it always about the beer?