Blackwater Draw’s Chris Weingart tells the story of the making of Hell’s Cellar using Messina Hof Wine barrels:
But how do you make a wild ale? First you begin with making a beer. That’s where Hell’s Cellar began. In February of 2015 we brewed an un-hopped version of our Belgian-style saison using the best Belgian pilsner malt we could find in addition to wheat & oats to contribute a higher amount of complex sugars (the reason why lies ahead).
What we created was not only tasty, but was destined for many delicious versions of our saison. Our first goal was to procure our barrels for aging our saison in the presence of our wild friends (Lactobacillus, Pediococcus & Brettanomyces).
We couldn’t think of a better home for our first Hell’s Cellar than wine barrels from Bryan/College Station’s very own Messina Hof. Thanks to the generosity of the Bonarrigo family and a little beer bribe to the head vintner we were able to purchase some beautiful Messina Hof Cabernet barrels that were freshly dumped and bring them to their new home at Blackwater Draw Brewing Company.