The Devil Returns
Let’s face it, this summer hasn’t been easy. Between this global pandemic that doesn’t seem to ever end, all of your favorite summer events being canceled, and literally having nothing to do for days on end, it’s been rough.
It was particularly bad for some of our fans — those intrepid individuals who, for years, have considered Devil’s Reach their go-to. Those wonderful people who usually keep their fridges stocked with our beloved Belgian Strong Ale. Those folks who look at an 8.6% ABV beast as their lawnmower beer.
They had a really rough summer. You see, the plan for 2020 was to cease canning Devil’s Reach in the spring to pick it up again in the autumn. And some of you never got the chance to buy multiple cases (or, maybe, an entire pallet) of your favorite beer before it took six months off.
Well, we’ve got great news. Devil’s Reach returns in cans next week!
For seven years, Devil’s Reach has been an absolute stalwart workhorse in our lineup. This is one of the few recipes that has remained completely unchanged since we first brewed it. Many of our beers evolve — a change in the hops bill here, some malt changes there –, but not Devil’s Reach. If you sipped it the first day we brewed it in 2013, it would be the same beer you’ll find in cans next week.
It was also one of the first beers we ever packaged, in 750ml bottles back in 2013. As any beer connoisseur will tell you, if it’s in a 750, that’s because the brewery thinks it’s something special. We did then and we do now.
Furthermore, in an ironic twist of fate, Devil’s Reach was both the first and last six-packs of bottles we ever produced before we turned to canning.
And, perhaps strangest of all, it’s a beer that just sort of… happened. Hank created it seven years ago only because we had some excess French Saison yeast lying around. He wasn’t sure what to do with the yeast, but the Belgian Golden Strong style was suggested by the supplier’s website, and we went with it.
And our fans loved it.
Fruity, light, and simple, Devil’s Reach has only seldom been off our lineup over the past seven years. Yet, for such a simple beer, you’ll find some deep complexities and a robust character in Devil’s Reach.
There was a lot to love about it.
So we kept making it.
Then, last year, way, way, back, during what feels like sometime during the midst of the Civil War but was in actuality December of 2019, we announced our release calendar for 2020.
It was some serious cause for celebration. It was so pretty. And it represented where we were and where we wanted to go. We felt confident that we’d be able to achieve these releases without a problem, and we were proud of the plans we’d made.
And we disclosed our rationale for keeping Devil’s Reach out of cans for the summer.
Here’s the thing about Devil’s Reach: it’s a big beer. Like, a really big beer. While it doesn’t drink like it, it’s still an 8.6% beer. That’s big. It’s even bigger if you’re drinking it in the heat and humidity of a Cape May summer — it’ll getcha.
A lot of people realize this. Very generally speaking, beer drinkers trend toward lighter beers over the summer: something like Tan Limes — a 4.5% lager with some sea salt and Persian lime juice — simply because it’s hotter than Georgia asphalt outside and they’re thirsty. They’re not looking for a beer to warm them up, they just need something to drink.
An 8.6% Belgian beast is typically not what they’re looking for.
So, we decided to switch things up a bit and make some room for Tan Limes over the summer. However, there were a number of our bar and restaurant accounts that kept Devil’s Reach as a permanent line. And, in this business, a permanent line is everything. It’s the Holy Grail of beer.
Think about it: your favorite watering hole has lines dedicated to at least three Big Brew “beers” and maybe five other taps that rotate. Getting them to dedicate one of those five taps to us? Or, better yet, deciding to get rid of one of the Big Brew taps for us?!? That’s a feather in our cap.
So, last year, we made the decision to cease canning Devil’s Reach in the spring in favor of Tan Limes. We’d still be brewing Devil’s Reach, so those hearty, courageous folks who turned to Devil’s Reach whether the weather was hot or whether the weather was cold could still get their hands on it whatever the weather at their favorite bar or restaurant — and, of course, we still wanted it for the Tasting Room. Then, post-summer, we’d put Tan Limes on hiatus and begin canning Devil’s Reach again.
It was a great plan.
Then COVID hit.
And bars and restaurants throughout the tri-state area had to shutter their doors.
And there was no draft. And no one was drinking anywhere other than at home.
And sadly — very, very sadly — those folks who loved Devil’s Reach wouldn’t be getting their hands on it any time soon. Not in cans. Not on draft. Not anywhere except growler fills in our Tasting Room.
It was a pretty sad day for everyone. We couldn’t simply flip a switch on the canning machine and start canning Devil’s Reach again. And, while we didn’t really see it coming, we can barely get enough aluminum cans to package what we had scheduled because there’s a worldwide aluminum can shortage.
Friends, on top of everything else that 2020 has served up, there’s been a worldwide aluminum can shortage.
How is that even a thing?!?
Regardless, at the beginning of 2020, it was difficult to even imagine a time when Devil’s Reach wouldn’t be readily available.
After summer heat, a global pandemic, a three-month lockdown, a collapsing economy, gender reveal parties causing wildfires, social unrest, murder hornets, an aluminum can shortage, and a new album from Taylor Swift, there is a light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.
Your much-awaited, much-anticipated, much-loved Devil’s Reach returns in cans in the Tasting Room on Friday, September 18th, throughout New Jersey on Monday the 21st, and in Pennsylvania and Delaware in October.
And you totally deserve it.
Be sure to check our Beer Finder to locate a retailer near you, or stop down to the Tasting Room to finally get your hands on some cans of Devil’s Reach.
See you soon!