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What’s New at Deck & Donohue

By July 18, 2015April 19th, 2016No Comments
Thomas Deck & Mike Donohue

At the two year mark from when we embarked in earnest upon the Deck & Donohue adventure, we thought it appropriate to take a few minutes to reflect on the past months, talk about our current projects, and peek into the future. Our workshop opened its doors in March 2014 after eight months of recipe testing, preparation, and installation in a former printing press on “Rue de la Fraternité” in Montreuil.

Right from the get-go, we were surprised and encouraged by the interest in our beers and our project, from the curiosity of our neighbors and other loyal customers visiting us each Saturday during our open hours, to the enthusiasm of bars, restaurants, and stores that have helped move us forward. We’ve shown up in Libération, on Paris Première, and even found ourselves being mentioned as part of the definition of a hipster in Les Inrocks.

One phrase we heard time and again has been, “I like your labels. Is it you who designs them?” Of course it is not us but the talented David Rager, who has been the designing force behind our visual identity. We are always excited to see what David brings to the table, and even more so to see the results of his efforts on the tables of bars and restaurants and the shelves of stores.

From the beginning, we took the decision to start small to be able to brew a large variety of beers and to keep central the concept of freshness. We are proud to see that in fact most beers that leave our brewery for consumption have been bottled within the previous two weeks. Fresh beer, check. Up until this moment, we have managed to brew 14 different beers: the 5 beers of the permanent line-up, 4 seasonals, 1 wet-hop beer, 2 anniversary beers, 1 collaboration with Earth Bread & Brewery, and 1 special draft for The Beast restaurant. Lots of beers, check.

We have tried to keep at the heart of things bringing our craft to the people, and as a result have engaged in tons of events over the past year: two barbecues with The Beast, a NNoches de los Muertos party with Café Chilango, a Ghost bottles evening with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, two Paris Beer Week, a beer cocktail event at Lone Palm, more than a few “soirées” at Trois 8 and the Supercoin, several beer dinners at Esquisse, Le Bal, and La Fine Mousse , large tastings at L’Amitié Rit and Caves de Reuilly, an anniversary party, and a cruise on the Canal de l’Ourcq.

We have also developed a key relationship with the experimental agroforestry site of Monts Gardés à Claye Souilly. The director Agnès passes by the brewery each week to pick up our spent grain, which she reutilizes to feed her animals as well as for compost for her CSA program. She provided us with pumpkins for our Fall seasonal, honey for one of our anniversary beers, and a spent-grain raised lamb (!) for our anniversary barbecue. We have jointly planted several varieties of hops and participated in several agroforestry events.

If you have been following us regularly, you must have noticed that we have had a hard time keeping up, with beers often out of stock or only in limited quantities. We installed a new fermenter back in December, but not long after our first anniversary, we decided that things had to get bigger. We welcomed the much-needed help from our interns, Etienne, Bryan, Auguste, Victor, Ronald, Dimitri, Madelina and Milo, each of whom stayed with us for several weeks — and hired Simon, who came armed with a true passion for craft beer and solid professional and amateur brewing experience. We have also had the opportunity to brew several of our beers “out-of-house” at two different local breweries. Since May, we have brewed the Trouble #6 at Brasserie Rabourdinin Courpalay (77). We’ve been excited to use the barley and wheat produced by Hubert Rabourdin himself in the beer, which we think keenly lends itself to the concept of the beer as a rustic, farmhouse ale. In the same grain, we’ve been welcomed by Jonathan and Brasserie Parisis in Epinay-sous-Sénart (91) to brew our summer seasonal, Clem’s Summer Wheat.

crédit photo: Jean Marie Heidinger

So that’s that. And for the future?

–New beers: the end of July marks the start of our new series “Summer of Hops” in which we’ll release several special, hoppy beers for the summer. Get it? We are also gearing up for another trip to Alsace in the Fall for a new wet-hop ale, as well as working on several other concepts before the end of 2015.

–Ongoing projects: if you happened to be at our Super Parisitic D&D party at the Supercoin during La Paris Beer Week 2, you perhaps had the chance to taste some initial tests of a distilled version of our Indigo IPA by our friends at Audemus Spirits. This project continues, and we hope to have some results very soon. We continue to explore future collaborations with craftsman and artists from here and there, some of which may see the light of day by the end of the year. More to come!

–Finally: A new brewery? As things have moved faster than anticipated for us and the Montreuil brewery is starting to feel extremely tight, we have begun the process of looking for a larger space. We’re pretty sure this will take quite a bit of time to realize, but we are targeting this creation of a second production space before the end of 2016.

A huge thank you for your support since the beginning. Please stay tuned for more exciting things to