Photo courtesy of Matt Shofner
Certainly many a person has Snapchatted a whale, but no one has done it quite like Hardywood.
On Tuesday, Matt Shofner, assistant hospitality manager of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, posted what he thought would be a benign photo on the mobile messaging app. The picture? A quick shot of a beer label along with the words “April 4th. No joke.” Less than 30 minutes later, beer forums on Facebook lit up with a screenshot of the Snapchat. Trades were already being made and the beer, Hardywood's new Foolery, hadn’t even been confirmed for release yet.
Foolery is Hardywood’s next whale. If you don’t frequent beer forums or make beer trades, a whale in the beer community is a highly sought-after brew. This particular beer is an imperial milk stout aged in bourbon barrels for roughly eight months. Its sister beer, Trickery — aged in apple brandy barrels — instantly achieved whale status when it was released just before Halloween to lines around the brewery and with only 1,000 bottles for sale.
“Matt sent a two-second Snapchat of the [Foolery] label to our 100-or-so contacts and the news raced around the beer community” says Ben Petty, Hardywood’s regional sales manager. “We weren’t expecting the news to travel quite so fast. When we started [Trickery and Foolery], we didn’t know it was going to be a thing. We didn’t make that much of the beer because we weren’t planning on a large-scale release. We were just having fun.”
Foolery is scheduled for release on April 4 at the brewery and, as you probably could have guessed, you can expect the same early and insane turnout that Trickery inspired. With 500 bottles for sale (and a limit of one bottle per person), the beer won’t last long. The only other place you can find Foolery this year will be at Savor, a national beer exposition held in Washington, D.C., on June 5 and 6.
When asked about naming the beers Foolery and Trickery, Petty states that it happened serendipitously. Trickery presented itself as ready around Halloween, and without getting too kitschy or tying themselves too specifically with the holiday, the name made sense. Foolery happened in a very similar fashion, landing right around April 1. The corresponding labels are as whimsical as the names, featuring designs by local artist and occasional Hardywood bartender, Tyler Thomas.
With such a limited release, it's safe to surmise that most of us won’t get to experience this whale. But don’t despair; Trickery’s next release is right around the corner, with a new batch due on or around Halloween of 2015.