January 24, 2012

Integration not Collaboration: Sonoran's Seven Wives Saison

The buzz of the last few years in brewing is collaboration. Famously Avery and Russian River Brewing created Collaboration Not Litigation Ale when they realized that they both had a Salvation Ale. The blended creation is probably referenced for starting the recent collaboration "movement" more than it is probably consumed. Since, we have seen a slew of collaborations by Dogfish Head, Stone, Allagash, Boulevard... it may be easier to list breweries that have not collaborated.

In the Valley, we've had Motley Brue and in my opinion, it was one of the most memorable beers that this state has produced.

Now comes Seven Wives Saison from Sonoran Brewing a concept that seems to be firing on all cylinders.
Local Brewery + Local Chef's + Local Ingredients + Local Artist + Local Charity = Sonoran Brewing Company's Inaugural Chef's Series Seasonal Brews!  
Sonoran's 2012 Inaugural Chef's Series is a collaboration of all things LOCAL!. We've teamed up with some of Arizona's finest Chefs; Chef Jeremy Pacheco from LON's at the Hermosa Inn, Chef Eddie Matney from Eddie's House, Chef Lee Hillson from T Cooks at the Royal Palms and Chef James Porter from Petite Mason and Big Earls BBQ in Old Town Scottsdale. Each Chef will design and brew a unique beer with Brewmaster Zach Schroeder using fresh LOCAL ingredients. The first release (March 3rd) is Chef Jeremy's 7 Wives Saison; this brew will feature wheat from Chef Jeremy's Family Farm in Marana, fresh green peppercorns from Singh Farms in Scottsdale, whole fennel & fennel pollen from LON's Garden and Peoria LOCAL Bob McClendon, mesquite syrup from Cotton Country Jams, locally produced orange & coriander. Chef Jeremy came up with the name for his brew as a way to pay homage to one time local artist and founder of Casa Hermosa (now the Hermosa Inn) Lon Megargee. The "7" ingredients are a tip of the hat to Lon's 7 Wives, yes he was married 7 TIMES! We are proud to share with you that a portion of all the March 3rd Tapping Party proceeds will go to benefit our LOCAL charity of choice, the Waste Not Organization of Arizona www.wastenotaz.org. All art work and label design is by LOCAL artist Ellison Keomaka; Ellison also designed both Centennial logos and the Inebriator Stout logo. We look forward to sharing this one of a kind brew with all of you! 
We've seen collaborations before, even restaurants and breweries (Goose Island), but generally not this deep and wide. First it is a Saison, something that we have lamented is missing in our Valley Beer Catalog. This fills that void. Second it is local on 5 levels that the brewery has identified, Brewery, Chef, Ingredients, Artist, and Charity. If you've read anything here, you know that this hits us right in our beer culture soft spot. This is not a Collaboration. It is so much more. This is an Integration of beer and food, culture, and life. Bold words, yes. Let's hope that the beer stands up when it releases sometime in early March.

So there are 7 Wives, 7 ingredients and 5 Local elements. I'll offer the 6th which is Legend - Lon Megargee.  That leaves one more. If we believe the hype about collaboration then the sum is greater than its parts. If this beer signals a new communication line between restauants, artists, farmers, brewers and charity, then Integration is the 7th component.


  1. I had no idea the depth of "integration" involved in that beer. All that effort and thought make it incredibly appealing, even if it didn't taste good, which it does.