Sonoma County craft brewers have been reacting to this fire season's pre-emptive power shutoffs — and the Kincade Fire that was potentially sparked by PG&E lines — with beers themed around the shutoffs. The latest example is Barrel Brothers Brewing's Mandatory Blackout imperial porter.
The beer label features coloring and typesetting meant to mimic PG&E's corporate logo, and it comes with the tagline "Power’s out? Party’s on." Posting to Facebook, Barrel Brothers writes, "For everyone who came to drink while we were without power, for anyone effected by the evacuation, the Kincaide fire [sic], the power outage and anyone who just loves great beer... This is for you. Cheers!"
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As the Press-Democrat reports, this is the second beer in the last month or so to take a bit of a dig at PG&E — the first was the more aggressively named Fuck PG&E pale ale from Shady Oak Barrel House in Santa Rosa. That beer received some blowback on Instagram following its release because of the perception that it was directed at utility workers who were working to restore power and repair damaged lines last month. The brewery had to make clear that their anger was directed at company executives and the corporation as a whole.
Many winemakers and brewers in the North Bay were impacted by PG&E's shutoffs this fall. Barrel Brothers tells the Press-Democrat that they got through the fire season without losing too much beer to the outages thanks to PG&E's advance warnings about the shutoffs. But co-founder Wesley Deal tells the paper that they still took "a significant hit" financially due to unexpected costs associated with the blackouts.
Mandatory Blackout is available at the brewery's taprooms in Windsor and Santa Rosa, and at various retail and restaurant locations including Gourmet au Bay in Bodega Bay, and Bottle Barn.
As they did after the Tubbs Fire in 2017, Russian River Brewing Co. brewed up a batch of its Sonoma Pride beer last month. Proceeds from the IPA go to the Santa Rosa Junior College Fire Academy, and to local fire agencies that fought the Kincade fire.