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New Belgium & Knob Creek Release Oakspire Bourbon-Inspired Ale

New Belgium & Knob Creek Release Oakspire Bourbon-Inspired Ale
Mike Zoller
Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

It’s bourbon barrel-aged season and when you hear those words you’d tend to think stout. New Belgium’s new Oakspire, brewed in collaboration with Knob Creek, brings you the bourbon characteristics in an ale.

Photo by Mike Zoller

Rich toffee and vanilla flavors star in this beer which is aged with oak spires soaked in bourbon and the char from inside the barrel. At 9% ABV the beer will be available starting Oct. 1st in six-packs across the country and on draft.

Beer drinkers that like barrel-aged stouts will notice some similar notes but in a lighter, sweeter beer. The beer pours a rich caramel color and on the nose, you’ll get a ton of vanilla and toffee which are sweet and inviting.

Photo by Eric Dirksen.

There are light bourbon notes on the taste, but they are more in the background and don’t overpower the rest of the beer. To get the bourbon flavors, the beer circulates around the bourbon-drenched oak spires in the tank. It’s a style of flavor-infusing that isn’t new to brewing but is becoming a lot more popular. Think Alltech’s Kentucky Ale Bourbon Barrel as a familiar reference.

For those who may not wish to commit to the thick viscosity, overly rich roasty flavors of bourbon barrel-aged stouts, but still love the barrel characteristics imparted in beer, this is a great alternative. The flavors that bourbon barrel-aged stouts feature such as tobacco and leather can keep the casual beer drinker away. Brewed as an ale, Oakspire opens itself up to a broader drinking category, but with the high ABV, it shouldn’t be mistaken for a lighter beer at all.

As the craft beer world continues to expand the types of beers it offers, from brut IPAs to milkshake IPAs to who knows what will be next, this bourbon ale is a nice change of pace from haze and perfect for a crisp fall day.


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