Little Rock based Moody Brews and Apple Blossom Brewing Company in Fayetteville have announced that they will collaborate on a beer called Earl Grey ESB. There have been collaborative efforts between local Arkansas breweries before, but this is a first for the Arkansas beer community — a collaboration between Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas breweries.

Josiah Moody, owner and brew master of Moody Brews, said he toured Apple Blossom’s brewery several years ago and just really hit it off and formed a kinship and mutual respect with the group. Now that’s he’s left Vino’s Brewpub and is doing his own gypsy brewing, it affords him more opportunities to do these types of collaborations he’s had in his mind.

He’s been discussing Earl Grey ESB for several months with former brew master at Apple Blossom, Nathan Traw, who has since left for Core Brewing, but Moody is continuing the collaboration with current head brewer Sammie Stephenson. They are currently working on recipe designs for a very traditional ESB (for extra special bitter) no more than 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) with some toasted nutty flavors (they’ll toast oats in the Apple Blossom kitchen before the mash). Moody said it’ll be hopped very traditionally, using English hops such as possibly Fuggles. Moody and Stephenson want it to be very true to style, aside from dry hopping with Fuggles to get a “bigger” aroma. Mood said he expects the earthy/grassy flavors of that type of hops should pair very nicely with Earl Grey Tea, which will be used in large quantities in both the boil and secondary fermentation.

The beer should be available in kegs only in both Central and Northwest Arkansas before the end of the year, but that’s not the only holiday gift  you can expect from Moody before the year ends. On Friday he’ll be over at Choc Brewing in Oklahoma to make his highly anticipated second Moody Brews beer, an Imperial Belgian Style Porter called Sixes And Sevens, which you should start to see in bottles and kegs in early December. Of course you can still find plenty of his wonderful double-IPA, Half Seas Over, on the shelves and taps around the state now.