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Mother's Brewing Co. Head Brewer David Soper Talks Materfamilias

92 Rating - Exceptional
Mother's Brewing Co. Head Brewer David Soper Talks Materfamilias

We spoke with Mother's Brewing Co. Head Brewer David Soper about Materfamilias.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
The recipe, or recipes for that matter are an ongoing expression of the best imperial stouts we can make and or exploration into what beers work best in what types of barrels. At this point we have two main recipes that we brew and age in a variety of barrels. The final blend is the culmination of the best parts of what we find when we taste these barrels.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The part of this beer, and really any blended barrel aged beer for that matter, that I find to be truly remarkable is the transformative quality that the barrels have on the liquid we put in them. The base beer goes in tasting one way, but it is only a shadow of what the beer becomes after it's time spent aging over 11 months in 4 different types of barrels. Most notably though I am always struck by how much the beer is transformed when we begin blending. Each barrel has its own unique character, but that character rarely reflects the finished product. We have found over time that individual barrels almost never taste like the finished blend, and when we put barrels together, that have overwhelmingly positive characteristics we end up with a product whose whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
To start, Materfamilias is a re-branding of a beloved Mother's barrel aged stout. We felt the brewery had outgrown the original name and been looking to bring that brand into a place that reflected our values. We started by asking ourselves what name would express the depth of our commitment and devotion to making this beer. Materfamilias is Latin for 'female head of the household.' Every year we learn a lot from making this beer and it always pushes us to exceed what we had previously thought possible. This is a beer that we are constantly spending time and devoting attention to throughout the entire year. The making of this beer is a process that involves so much from every department in the brewery from sourcing great barrels, to brewing the best beer possible, to ensuring quality is at its highest with a product that has unique characteristics, to ensuring it is packaged in a way that will be durable for long aging. This beer is truly the top of what we do and is an expression of the love we have for our craft. Some people say the name doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but then again, this beer isn't exactly a breeze to make either. So also kind of fitting in a way, as well.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
As much as I love this beer I can't say it would be my desert island beer. Materfamilias is rich, decadent and filling, and at 11% ABV, I don't think it would be good for my survival and prolonged cognitive function if I were stranded on a desert island. Let's call it my "snowed in by the fireplace" beer.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
A voluptuous exaltation of complexity, nuance and luxury.  

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Every year, starting around Halloween, we begin pulling samples out of the cellar and tasting the beer for the years blend. The process typically spans several weeks as we have over 100 individual barrels that sample and take notes on. We select barrels for the Materfamilias blend along with barrels for single barrel releases which come late in the year (Rum, Rye, and Bourbon) and are released in 22 oz bottles. Out of this, we also select actual single barrels of the different components that are set aside for the release event in our tasting room, as well as discussing which barrels we have purchased throughout the year that are tasting nice. Some of my favorite times at Mother's have been spent sitting at the table with my team talking about which barrels are tasting good, talking critically about the blend, and making plans for future releases and barrel purchases.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
On the savory side, Materfamilias pairs well with rich foods like foie gras, smoked goose, or a nice aged gouda. On the sweeter side we like to go with either strong dark chocolate flavors like from a truffle or rich fudge brownies or something lighter with a fruity quality like a chocolate raspberry mousse.

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