Eight renowned Black craft breweries -- Harlem Brew South, Rocky Mount NC, Spaceway Brewery, Rocky Mount NC, Cajun Fire Brewing Co., New Orleans LA, Black Frog Brewery, Holland Ohio, Sankofa Brewing Company, Washington D.C., Brew & Feed, Charlotte NC and Montclair Brewery, Montclair NJ -- got together at Dirtbag Ales, a state-of-the art facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to embark on what will be a yearly tradition of collaboration, brewing and fellowship. The result: Blacktoberfest Marzen-style Ale.
The idea began with a conversation between Black Brew Culture's Sheena Lester and Royce Shockley about a grass roots and organic festival that could be held in the fall as a close-out to the beer "festival season." The conversation quickly spread to BBC's founder Mike Potter and Dirtbag's head brewer and owner Tito Simmons-Valenzuela over a few pints in DB's new taproom. The two whole heartedly agreed that with the current climate in the beer industry and in America as a whole, a collaboration like this was necessary. After quickly mapping out the logistics, things began to gain momentum when the two met up at the brewery's Sunday Farmer's Market with Celeste Beatty, founder and brewer of Harlem Brew South. The brewers spent the next few hours perusing and sampling potential ingredients to add to the mash and create the recipe for an original Marzen-style ale.
Mike and the BBC team then began the next phase of any great collaboration: uniting great minds and brewers to get behind the project. The first calls were made to local NC talent, Briana Brake, Robert Moreland and the original brewers Beatty and Simmons-Valenzuela. Next to jump in to the craft brew double-dutch was New Orlean's Jon Renthrope, Chris Harris in Holland, Ohio, D.C.'s own Kofi Meroe and Leo and Denise Sawadogo of Montclair Brewery in Montclair, NJ. With the tight band of brewers now in place, history was set to be made. Blacktoberfest was forged, ushering in a new era of collaboration, empowerment and tradition.