Last year marked an important time for Union Craft Brewing, the Woodberry-based beer company. An expanded facility with new brewing equipment allowed Union to produce 5,100 barrels of beer in 2014, 90 percent more than the previous year.
So, according to founder Jon Zerivitz, it was time to celebrate. For Union, that meant brewing a limited-edition beer to commemorate the company brewing its 500th batch. The result is Balt the More Sticke Alt, which Zerivitz described as variation on Union’s popular German-style Balt Altbier.
The Balt the More Sticke Alt is “a craft-centric beer, but it’s very traditional in its origin,” Zerivitz said on Wednesday morning. The beer nods to the city’s established love of German-style beers, he said. (“Sticke” is a play on the German word “stickum,” which translates to “secret.”)
“Our regular Balt Alt is very well received, and this is a really special version of that beer,” he said.
Balt the More Sticke Alt is a draft-only release for Maryland and Washington markets. (The exception is a portion of the batch that will age in bourbon barrels for a later release, Zerivitz said.) He did not know which local bars had purchased the limited-edition beer, but expected it to debut Friday at some bars that regularly serve Union on tap.
Union brewed its 500th batch in December, according to Zerivitz.
“It’s definitely a milestone in our brewing career,” he said. “We worked really hard to get here.”
In other Union news, Zerivitz said the company is currently negotiating a deal to distribute its beer in northern Virginia, which would be Union’s first new market since its 2011 founding. Union plans to purchase additional tanks and other equipment this year as well.
Finally, Union plans to release a new seasonal can by May 1. The addition will be its summer sour German-style wheat beer, Old Pro Gose, which was awarded second place out of 80 entries at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in the German-Style Sour Ale category. The canning of Old Pro Gose has been a goal of Union’s since opening, Zerivitz said, but the company was only able to do it this year because of its production expansion.
For Zerivitz — who founded Union with Adam Benesch and head brewer Kevin Blodger — it is another encouraging example of the company’s growth.
“We feel that we have a real bright future ahead of us,” he said, “and a lot more exciting things on the way.”