Saint Arnold gets religious with new beer line: Rotating craft beers to be Icons
The rapid growth of the craft beer industry has been great for producers and consumers alike, but according to Saint Arnold Brewing Company founder Brock Wagner, there has been one drawback to the unprecedented success.
"The problem was it didn't allow us to do the other things we wanted to do," Wagner tells CultureMap. "There are a lot of beers we started working on years ago, dating back to 2005 or 2006, we just didn't have the capacity."
Contrary to rumors, the new Icon line won't serve to replace Saint Arnold's ultra-popular Divine Reserve series.
The solution for Saint Arnold's is the new Icon line, a seasonally rotating assortment of beers that will debut in Houston bars and restaurants on Dec. 10. Icon brews will be released quarterly and individually distinguished by the hue of the metallic label, known as Icon Red, Icon Green, Icon Gold, etc.
Contrary to rumors, the new Icon line won't serve to replace Saint Arnold's ultra-popular Divine Reserve series — Wagner says that DR 13, a Belgian quadrupel is being brewed next week — but instead will exist alongside it to offer more brewing options.
"They won't have a super-high alcohol content," Wagner says, "It'll be around four to six percent as opposed to nine percent or more in a Divine Reserve."
Another big difference is that Saint Arnold's Icon line won't be made in limited quantities like Divine Reserve is, and will be available throughout the year at restaurants and bars as well as by the bottle starting in January.
Or, as Wagner puts it, you'll be able to buy it "without taking a vacation day."
The first Icon beer, Icon Red, is a Belgian Pale Ale that Wagner describes as a "distinctive Belgian-type yeast with nice, noble hops . . . it won't be an aggressive hop beer but will have a nice, soft, floral quality from the hops we use." In March it will be replaced by Icon Blue, a Cascadian Dark Ale that was inspired by the winner of the brewery's Big Batch Brew Bash. Wagner says that certain Icon brews might return after a year or they might be replaced by new beers, "depending on how much we want to drink them again."
The Icon name and logo comes from an image of the Saint Arnold of Metz icon painted at the brewery in 2000 by Father Andrei Davydov, a Russian priest who produced the fresco using a 1000-year old method of mixing paint and wax.