Showcasing wild rice harvested from the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Sudwerk brewers crafted Wyld Ryce Lager, a nutty, gold-colored beer that also includes rye, and California-grown barley and hops. The limited-release lager was made specifically for Yolo Basin Foundation’s annual Bucks for Ducks fundraiser, Oct. 17 at the UC Davis Pavilion. For tickets and details about Bucks for Ducks, visit http://www.yolobasin.org.
The concept came from Jack DeWit, a Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area rice grower and Yolo Basin Foundation board member. “Wild rice is not wild or rice,” said DeWit, who has been growing it in the bypass since the 1970s. “Botanically, white rice and wild rice are both grasses. When Europeans came to North America and saw it growing in water, they called it rice.”
Sudwerk Lead Brewer Mike Hutson loved DeWit’s idea to use local wild rice. “We had been looking to make a beer with a local ingredient that incorporates and reflects our unique agricultural position in the greater Sacramento Valley. Rice — more specifically wild rice — was the logical choice. Brewing a beer with tomatoes just seemed wrong.”
The lager is part of a series of small-batch beers featuring local ingredients, like the recently released Putah Creek Wet Hop Lager. Wyld Ryce Lager will be available at the Bucks for Ducks Dinner, the brewery’s taproom and select accounts.
Sudwerk co-owner Trent Yackzan sees this beer as a “great local partnership. We love sourcing local, working with local partners, and supporting our community.”
Craft brewers sometimes give rice a bad rap. Large commercial breweries frequently use white rice as an inexpensive additive to lighten a lager’s color and body. Hutson said this copper-colored lager is much different.
“Wild rice contributes a pleasant, nutty, toasty flavor and aroma to beer, while the rye malt gives it a spicy character,” Hutson said. “These complex flavors are in stark contrast to the subdued qualities of white rice or corn. It can also lend grassy, earthy undertones, which are nice in moderation. Balance is crucial.”
Bucks for Ducks is Friday, Oct. 17 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. This year’s event will honor former Yolo County Supervisor Betsy Marchand for more than 20 years of service to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area as a Yolo Basin Foundation board member. Tickets to Bucks for Ducks, $75 each, may be purchased at http://www.yolobasin.org. For more information, contact Lori Hewitt at 530-757-3780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sudwerk Brewing Co. specializes in artisanal craft brews, specifically West Coast craft lagers. Its taproom, The Dock Store, at 2001 Second St., Davis, Calif., is open from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and noon to 6 p.m. on weekends. Learn more at http://sudwerkbrew.com.
Bucks for Ducks
When: Friday, Oct. 17, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion, UC Davis
Why: To raise money for the Yolo Basin Foundation, funding environmental education in the Yolo Wildlife Area
Tickets: $75, available at http://yolobasin.org