Undistributed beer of the week: The Butcher

There can only be one undistributed beer of the week. The competition is fierce in San Diego’s beer community, but someone has to take the title. This week’s best undistributed beer is ?

Societe Brewing Company: The Butcher

STYLE: Imperial stout

ABV: 9.7%

PAIR WITH: A chocolate chip cookie

This beer is big, velvety and full of delicious flavors of chocolate and coffee, without using any additives. It pays homage to the imperial stout and shows what a talented brew team can do with simple ingredients. We enjoyed the delicious stout in its bottle - the 666th batch - which you can get now at the brewery before they’re gone.


This beer comes to us from Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner, brewmaster and brewer at Societe Brewing Co. The duo always wanted to brew a big, dark beer like this one for their patrons to enjoy.

“When we started Societe, we had this idea of different styles of beer that we brew. From the beginning, we knew we wanted to do an imperial stout. It was our first stout that we ever brewed. Doug, my business partner is also a big fan of dark, death metal. This beer revolves around his choice in music. The reason we decided to bottle this batch, going off of that, is because it’s the 666th batch that went through our brew house,” Smith said.

What sets this stout apart is the decision to not barrel-age or add any other ingredients. Instead, they let the beer do the talking - and man, is it loud.

“Unlike most bottled stouts, it isn’t barrel-aged. It doesn’t have any coffee, no chocolate, no spices, herbs or anything else weird. It’s roasted malts, dark malts, roasted barley and some oats. It takes about five weeks to brew,” Smith said.

The oats and malts give the beer an ultra-smooth mouth feel. Other than that, there is one more secret ingredient that the brewers use to give The Butcher its dangerously delicious edge.

“We infused death metal into it throughout the process. During fermentation, we wanted to get the yeast as angry as possible,” Smith said.

Yep, death metal made this dark beer that much darker and according to Doug Constantiner, there were several musicians to thank for this beer coming to fruition. Metal bands like Cattle Decapitation, Cannibal Corpse, Gruesome, Gore Guts, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Impaled Nazarene, Immortal, Emperor and Pig Destroyer provided that special sauce, so to speak.

As we mentioned before, this brew, like all the beers at Societe, isn’t meant to include ultra-hot spiced chilies, grapefruit extract or any of the add-ons we have grown accustomed to tasting in beers these days. Reason being? The beer should taste like beer, Smith said.

“What I love most is that this is our flagship stout, and it doesn’t have any of those unusual ingredients. Most of the time, these other things are gimmicks or ways to make things taste less like beer,” he said. “It’s mostly because that’s the way I enjoy drinking beer. I started drinking beer 16 years ago, and I fell in love with the flavor of beer. That’s what I like to drink and so, that’s what I like to make.”

Constantiner, too, says this beer is something he would like to drink all the time. He also credited one other local brewery for part of the inspiration to brew this awesome stout.

“It’s not that we were trying to recreate or clone a beer, but a beer I look up to is Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout. That was one of the driving forces that had me wanting to make an imperial stout, too,” he said.

The name of this brew is fitting, as it personifies a character named Bill The Butcher from “Gangs of New York” who is powerful, big and not to be messed with - just like the beer.

The Butcher is currently available on tap and in bottles at Societe Brewing Co. Get it while it’s cold (and while they still have bottles!)

8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Kearny Mesa.

Source: Discover SD