16 Mile brews imperial stout to benefit Night Stalker Association
16 Mile's latest beer does not fall into the Georgetown brewery's normal categories of core, collaboration or heraldry series brews, but it was a beer the company had to do. During the opening of the 16 Mile Taphouse in Newark, owner Brett McCrea met a person who was a crew chief for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based out of Ft. Campbell, Ky. Most who are familiar with the movie "Blackhawk Down" are familiar with the helicopter crew and pilots who figured prominently in the movie. That crew and those pilots played in the movie are representative of the 160th. The 160th, also known as the Night Stalkers, supports the aviation needs of U.S. Special Operations forces all over the world.
McCrea's conversation with the crew chief went on for about an hour. As some already know, McCrea worked in the field of counterterrorism for the U.S. government for about 10 years and, as such, felt at home speaking to him.
"As our conversation ended, he suggested I contact the Night Stalkers Association to see if there was a way we could collaborate," he said.
The Night Stalker Association (www.NSA160.com) is charged with, among other things, rendering assistance to worthy members of the 160th, their widows and orphans by means of loans and/or gifts, camaraderie and personal assistance. McCrea subsequently contacted the president of the association and former Deputy Commander Vincent Reap to see if an opportunity existed.
"After several emails and telephone conversations, he accepted the proposal and the work on the recipe began," McCrea said. "We intended to make a beer that represented elements of the 160th and the missions they have flown worldwide. We wanted to make a bold beer to represent the unit and the missions they are generally charged with, but also take into account the environments they thrive in."
So the decision to make an imperial stout was the most logical choice because, "In our stable of beers our imperial stout is, by far, the boldest," McCrea said, adding, "The imperial stout is as black as the moonless night this unit prefers to fly in."
Next, they took ingredients from around the world where they reside and operate. The first ingredient symbolizes where the regiment is based in Kentucky. This will be done by soaking oak spires in a case of Lexington Bourbon and adding this during the pre-fermentation stage to contribute to the body of the stout. Next, they wanted to add ingredients to represent the countries they performed missions in. Added were green cardamom (a citrusy spice) and ginger during the boil and dry hopping stages to impart a subtle flavor and aroma. These spices are commonly used in foods from places like Somalia and Afghanistan. Finally, honey was added during the post-fermentation stage. Honey farming has taken place in Iraq for thousands of years and it nicely rounds out the astringency of the black malts used in this imperial stout.
The stout was brewed Oct. 3, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Battle in Mogadishu, which inspired the movie Blackhawk Down. This stout will take roughly 30 days to mature and will come to market in early November. All told, this beer will be 10 percent ABV with 55 IBUs, and proceeds will benefit the Night Stalkers Association.
"Given my history, this beer is special to me as it is a tribute to those who do not seek recognition for their duties and serve in silence," said McCrea.