Some people resist and even reject change, but that kind of attitude is often fatal for a business. The world requires a business to evolve. Change can provide a business, like a brewery, with new energy and new inspiration. That’s what happened at Black Raven Brewing. Pictured above. top-down: Beaux Bowman (Founding Brewer/Co-Owner), Tony Ruland (Innovation Brewer), Mike Clark (VP of Sales & Marketing).
The company was pretty much set up for this a few years ago: growth, innovation, and evolution. The new, bigger brewing system was operational at the Woodinville location back in the summer of 2019. They were ready to make more beer, revisit some old recipes, introduce new beers and programs, and then suddenly everything unceremoniously lurched to a stop because of you-know-what.
Like so many other businesses, the last few years were all about survival for Black Raven Brewing. The bird weathered the storm and now the company is charging forward with gusto and a renewed sense of purpose. When you’ve been shopping for beer lately, or when scrolling through social media feeds, you may have seen some new stuff, and a new look, from Black Raven Brewing, so let’s go over some of it.
The New Look
When any company revisits its branding, there are a couple of basic approaches. What Black Raven Brewing did was something between the two. The changes are somewhere between a subtle brand update and a drastic rebranding. It’s more like a brand evolution.
You will recognize that it’s still the same bird (Kraven T. Raven) telling you the story of the beer, but you’ll notice that the bird looks a little different. It was an intentional and careful process that involved a lot of careful consideration, a lot of brainstorming, and plenty of back-and-forth with Blind Tiger Design, the Seattle-based creative agency that helps so many companies in the beer industry establish their identities, including the Washington Beer Blog.
New Beers, New Seasonal Programs
Along with the new look, Black Raven Brewing introduces some new beers and some new programs.
MechaRaven is described as a new, clean, double IPA brewed using Berkley Tropics yeast, to lend a touch of guava to the nose, and Idaho 7 cryo hops. I describe it as loaded with tropical fruit flavors, slightly sweet (in a double IPA sort of way) but not cloying. Politely disguised alcohol content (8 % ABV). Available in 19.2-ounce cans and also in kegs. The name and imagery are reminiscent of the 1974 classic film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.
The eponymous West Coast IPA is, as you’d guess, a West Coast-style IPA. It’s described as clean, tropical, and hopped using New Zealand Nectaron hops. Flavor descriptors: passion fruit, peach, grapefruit, and pineapple. Available in 12-oz cans and in kegs. 6 % ABV.
Seasonal IPA is also new and is also self-descriptive. They’ll brew a new version for each season that makes use of local ingredients and different hops and innovative hop products. Available in 12-oz cans and kegs. The first in the series is out now and was brewed using Nectaron, Mosaic, Azacca, and Comet hops.
Alternate Dimensions – Also a seasonal offering, the Alternate Dimension series will include sour and mixed-fermentation beers. A new one each quarter. The current release is a Passionfruit and Pineapple Sour. The Alternate Dimensions series replaces the Core of Four series.
Collaboration Series – Each season, Black Raven will release a new beer in its collaboration series. The current release is a collaboration IPA brewed with Boneyard Brewing. In the coming year, they’ll also collab with the likes of Fort George Brewing, Firestone Walker Brewing, and Fremont Brewing.
What’s Old is New Stuff – Without going into details, because all of the above is more change than some folks can handle, I will just say that Black Raven is revisiting and updating some of the recipes and processes for other beers in the regular lineup. Blasphemy, I know, but it’s 2023 for crying out loud! The world has changed.
Big Cans – Trickster IPA and MechaRaven Double IPA are now available in 19.2-oz cans. Across the industry, this has become a popular package size, especially for IPAs and double IPAs.
The Black Feather Series of quarterly releases gets an upgrade and some changes. Now offered in 16-ounce cans and in kegs.
- Quarter 1 – Out there now. The new Feather Weather is a stout infused with chocolate and orange. Reminiscent of the classic holiday chocolate-orange treat.
- Quarter 2 – Tropical Trickster.
- Quarter 3 – Fruited wit bier. Details TBD.
- Quarter 4 – The Festivus you know and love remains unchanged.
For more news about recent beer releases, visit the Washington Beer Blog’s New Beer Releases page.