Given the history of Saint Arnold Brewing Co.’s popular Divine Reserve series, you might want to get to the store early on release day to make sure you get your share of No. 12 before it’s sold out.
But there’s no rush to drink all that you get your hands on.
For one thing, DR12, as the beer being released Tuesday is known in social-media shorthand, weighs in at 10-percent alcohol by volume. That’s nearly 2½ times the potency of a Bud Light, so a pint or two at a sitting is plenty.
Here’s another good reason to hold off: This beer, an Old Ale-style based on the Big Batch Brew Bash-winning recipe of local homebrewer David Rogers, will change over time.
If stored properly — preferably in a refrigerator — you could begin to detect sherry notes in about a year, as oxygen slowly interacts with the alcohol and the malts, says Saint Arnold chief Brock Wagner.
“This beer, I suppose we’ll be drinking well beyond five years from now,” he predicts. Though it’s impossible to say exactly how any one-time beer will evolve, he adds, “two years, it should be very interesting.”
Saint Arnold produced a limited amount of DR12: 3,201 cases of six-pack, 12-ounce bottles; 682 cases of 22-ounce “bomber” bottles, a first for a Divine Reserve beer; and 88 half-barrel and 90 slim-barrel kegs. The brewery also placed some of the batch in two bourbon barrels to age for at least six months.
A Divine Reserve release has consistently been one of the most anticipated events for Houston beer lovers, with fans lining up outside stores hours before the doors open on the first day of sales.
But much has changed locally since the release of Divine Reserve No. 11, an imperial India pale ale now sold as Endeavour, in March 2011. For starters, there’s a lot more locally brewed beer on the market. Not only have two new craft breweries opened inside the city limits, but Saint Arnold has been growing at a blistering rate.
In fact, increased demand for Saint Arnold beers, including three new year-round offerings and two other special releases, has strained production at the brewery and led to a gap of nearly a year and a half since the last Divine Reserve.
Wagner doesn’t expect interest in DR12 to slacken, however. If anything, he says, the series seems to grow more popular.
“If we had the ability to make more,” he says, referring to limited brewing time and space, “we would sell more.”