The craft beer industry, like many other corners of the alcoholic beverages market, has long been dominated by white men. But minority-owned breweries are also out there fighting for recognition in a crowded market — and a new bicoastal collaboration between a pair of acclaimed craft beer brands is looking to create more opportunities for those breweries.
Maine-based Allagash Brewing Company has teamed up with Black-owned Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. out of southern California to create a new beer that combines the best of both breweries. Cur-8 is a hybrid between a pilsner and a barrel-aged tripel; specifically, it’s a marriage between the crispness of Crowns & Hops’s 8 Trill Pils and the bourbon-inspired flavors of Allagash Curieux.
Gear Patrol senior commerce editor and beer expert Ryan Brower recently got his hands (and tastebuds) on an early sample of the beer, and it’s even more delicious than its description would have you believe:
"It’s technically a Pilsner & bourbon barrel-aged tripel ale, but it really tastes like a vanilla-infused Pilsner, in the best way possible. Combining Allagash’s Curieux with Crowns & Hops 8 Trill Pils, it’s a 20-80 blend that the dynamic duo got just right. It’s crisp like a Pils but hits with very slight vanilla and oak hints that help elevate but not overpower the lager base."
But Cur-8 — which goes on sale on February 1st to mark the start of Black History Month — is more than a tasty beer. It’s also doing some good. Proceeds from sales of the beer are going go to the 8 Trill Initiative, a development fund launched by Crowns & Hops co-founders Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter that generates opportunities for Black-owned craft beer brands, while also showing the benefits — both societal and financial — of racial equity. The 8 Trill Initiative will also be launching additional Cur-8-like collabs between other established breweries and Black-owned craft breweries to further their goal.
Cur-8 is available now in the two involved breweries’ home states of Maine and California, along with New York and Georgia. The 6%-ABV brew is sold in 16-oz four-packs, but will only be available for a limited time — so grab some while you can.