Spirt of Philadelphia First Friday 2017 Leaderboard

A Bunch of Entitled Kids of Big Beer Opened Up Their Own 'Craft' Brewery

by Ryan Hudak on Jul 25, 2017 in Beer

If you like your craft beer to lack any kind of authenticity, but make up for that with boundless pretentiousness, Barrels & Sons Brewery in Napa, California is about to become your mecca.  The brewery was started by three sons of moderately famous people: Carlo Mondavi, son of Tim Mondavi and grandson of Robert Mondavi of Mondavi Winery; Elliott Taylor, son of Ronald Lee Taylor, whose restaurant-building company built Spago (apparently that makes you famous or something); and Jacob Busch, of the famous Budweiser family.

Two things immediately jump out about the trio.  First, they look the Trump kids tried to dress up like Mumford and Sons without ever actually having seen the band.  Second, they know nothing about beer and brewing. The group says they are starting with a pilsner, and only a pilsner, in order to make one of the best in the US.  After all, as Elliott Taylor noted, “We started thinking that every American lager or pilsner beer brand is no longer owned by Americans anymore.” Sure, if you’re only thinking about the macro garbage that your fathers pedaled—but there are plenty of great craft pilsners and lagers owned by Americans.
 

 
 
Their brewing process (which they hired a brewer for) is also suspect. Taylor also mentions, “It is a very complicated brew protocol and is a thick binder worth of pages to follow the actual procedure of this brew. We have one of the longest lager pilsners on the market and our total start to finish time from batch in to rack out is just under 30 days, which is extremely long for a lager. Checking temperature throughout the day and monitoring the beer is a complicated process―we use an array of different malts and we use several different hops.”  As Beervana blog points out, 30 days is pretty standard for a pilsner, which just so happens to be one of the beer styles that generally uses one kind of malt and one kind of hops.  So, nothing checks out with these guys.
 
From the Barrels & Sons Instagram, it is clear this is being marketed to the aforementioned Mumford and Sons faux-folk crowd; the kinds of kids who wear their pre-torn $300 jeans designer v-neck t-shirt into the woods to have a picture-perfect campfire with all their beautiful friends.  They even have a video of someone pouring their beer into a mug full of snow with a banjo playing in the background.  I can’t even begin to describe how many things are wrong with this.
 
The brewery—and the three rich kids who started it—is being praised for its hard-working ethos that these guys apparently grew up with and are pouring into their beer.  That, however, could have more to do with the sycophantic tone of the Forbes piece and not with anything they’re actually doing.  The article really is a must-read, too, if you're into pain.
 
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