#BAbeer #barrelaged Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Breweries like to go big on their anniversary. Usually a party, special tappings, food trucks, and sometimes, a special beer. Ska Brewing in Durango, Colorado celebrates their anniversary with live ska bands and around 25 guest breweries pouring shaker glasses full of beer for thirsty partygoers. With COVID in full swing last September, the team made the tough decision to cancel the party. This year, they went big… really big. (And I’m not just talking about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones headlining the sold-out party.)
In 2019, Kentucky’s West Sixth Brewing and Louisville distiller Angel’s Envy teamed up to brew a series of bourbon barrel-aged beers. Among the beers brewed for this project is the Illuminator Barrel Aged Doppelbock. This German-style lager is aged in Angel’s Envy barrels and finished in port wine barrels, giving it notes of caramel, bread crust and dark fruits.
Lexington, KY’s Ethereal Brewing is known for brewing a wide range of outstanding Belgian farmhouse and American craft beers with a focus on quality and a penchant for creativity. Their annual Baba Yaga Imperial Stout, a shining example of this approach, is aged exclusively in Four Roses barrels for 8-12 months.
There’s no question that barrel aging and blending beers are a true form of art. I have admired this art form for years and after moving to Bozeman, Montana, I quickly learned that Bozeman Brewing excels at it. They have a wide variety of beers in their sour program, dubbed the Bozeman Underground. They affectionately gave it that name because their barrel aging facility is actually underneath the brewery — hence the name Bozeman Underground. The beers within their sour program range from Goses, Lambic-inspired Ales, Tripels and Flanders style to name a handful. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan Beal, brewer and cellarman at Bozeman Brewing, to discuss their sours, the barrel aging process and blending. Ryan is responsible for overseeing the sour program and everything that goes along with it. The knowledge and passion Ryan possesses for his craft, clearly shine through in his sour and funky ales.
Scroll through Instagram’s visual-forward feed, and you’ll find pictures of people celebrating life events, vacations and accomplishments—along with a heavy dose of very prescriptive sponsored posts that make you question your internet browser’s personal data collection policies. You’ll also find a bevy of new beers, pumped up by appeasing photos that appeal to both your eyes and your taste buds. While a striking photo of your latest beer to hit shelves is the standard, many breweries have taken things a step further—perhaps inspired by the poetic musings of the Dont Drink Beers Instagram account—to layer their latest beer release with passages of beer-inspired prose.
In part two of our series on the state of barrel-aged beers (read part one here), we’re generating some word-of-mouth buzz by letting the brewers share the most anticipated barrel-aged beers lurking in their barrel programs. The ever-present bourbon barrel-aged stout makes an appearance or two, but it’s the experimentation and creativity highlighted by brewers across the board that really gets me excited. Foeder-aged ales, tequila Goses and barrel-aged Cream Ales? That’s just a sampling of some of the compelling creations these breweries are looking forward to releasing to consumers.
Barrel-aged beers are known for big ABVs, bold flavors and brisk ingenuity. The near-constant release of Barleywines, Bourbon Barrel-aged Stouts and everything in-between draw consistent buzz and big purchases from beer lovers every fall and winter due to that warm, fuzzy feeling they can bring. That said, the current landscape of barrel-aged beers is daunting, challenging brewers to create new and bold beers that meet the ever-changing demands of their audience–what’s popular this season might be dull the next year. The current state of the barrel-aged beer industry in the United States is equal parts complex, curious and creative. To learn more, I polled more than 10 breweries known for their barrel-aged beer programs to get their perspective on the state of the industry and their likes and dislikes when it comes to barrel-aged beer.
With an in-state distribution footprint that stretches to every corner of Colorado, Denver’s River North Brewery is a longtime local favorite. Despite its reach, its longevity and its reputation among hardcore craft enthusiasts, River North has still managed to remain somewhat of an underrated contender in the world of barrel-aged beers.
On these cold winter days, few beers are more ideally suited for the weather than Fremont Brewing Company’s B-Bomb Bourbon Barrel Imperial Winter Ale. A Winter Ale that sees extended time in bourbon barrels, it serves up more than enough alcohol to warm up your insides, while delivering tons of fall spices and vanilla barrel notes. At 13% and coming only in large 750ml bottles, it’s a perfect beer to break out and split with any friends and family you may have in town for the holidays.
Everyone has their own definition of indulgent. It could be a decadent chocolate cake that pushes the boundaries of your sweet tooth and your waistband. It might be a 5-star spa day or a vending machine that distributes gold bars. There may be no clearer measure of an indulgent purchase, however, than seeing the facial expression of a beer non-connoisseur when you tell them you have spent $50+ on a single bottle of beer. Hill Farmstead Samuel becomes the latest release to stress-test the wallet, especially in the midst of a pandemic that is making us reevaluate our financial priorities.
The craft beer industry has diligently adapted taprooms, business processes and safety protocols to better serve patrons and adhere to current safety guidelines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Welcoming patrons back to drink outdoors (and, in some states, indoors) at a brewery’s location is a momentous task that cannot be understated. Being permitted to once again drink beer on-draft during Chicago’s Phase 3 and 4 reopenings has let some of Chicago’s beer drinkers experience a sense of cautious normalcy. One area of the craft beer scene that would typically draw crowds—and headaches—is a much-hyped beer release, like Revolution Brewing’s release of their latest Cafe Deth variant, Supermassive Cafe Deth. What does a beer release look like in the new normal? How do you execute one both safely and effectively? To find out, we asked Illinois’ largest independent brewer about how the release went.
“But, what do you drink?” This is the question I asked the bartender at one of the many estimable pubs I wandered into the first time I visited Bruges. Taking a pilgrimage to the holy land of beer to guzzle some Westvleteren long before it was shipped to American shores, I spent my days soaking in highly-touted Trappist ales and Belgian standards, but was looking for something a little more “Bad Sandy.” The Belgians, masters of brewing, had to have their version of “craft” local beers that didn’t travel outside of the land of waffles and moules frites.
Barrel-aged and blended beer releases aren’t just for winter months and colder temperatures. The dark liquid, bourbon barrels and boozy aftertastes of October through December releases give way to lighter colors, wine barrels and fruit-forward flavor offerings found in April and May. Such is the case for Deschutes Brewery, which has staked its fall and winter barrel-aging claim thanks to the likes of the popular The Abyss Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. The Bend, Oregon brewery also recently announced the release of two new additions to their Small Batch Reserve series for spring: Tumalo Kriek and The Ages 2020. Both are available in 500 mL bottles and both highlight warm weather, seasonal ingredients: cherries in Tumalo and pears in The Ages. Deschutes was kind enough to send a bottle of each my way. With extra time on my hands, I really got to enjoy both of these beers. Here are my thoughts.
Since there is always something new to try in the golden age of craft beer, some folks (this Porchdrinker included), rarely drink the same beer twice. However, in a time of great stress and fear of the unknown, it can be comforting to revert back to things that are familiar and comforting, and this consistently satisfying beer has earned its rightful place in your beer fridge.
As barrel-aged beers go, Firestone Walker is one of the most consistent producers out there. When it comes to their anniversary beer, it’s hard to pass this one up.
Firestone Walker just released XXIII, the fourteenth beer they’ve released as part of their anniversary series, which dates back to 2006. As with all of the previous anniversary beers, it’s a blend of many of their well crafted barrel-aged offerings.
It has been a busy summer for Revolution Brewing. Between their Midlife Crisis barrel-aged release and the hyped-up IPA collaboration with Hop Butcher coming later this week, Chicago’s largest independent brewer has made headlines during the hotter months. That being said, year three of Revolution’s acclaimed Deep Wood barrel-aged series is set to generate buzz among the beer-drinking community for the upcoming colder months thanks to its consistent release of new and old canned barrel-aged creations from October to January. The 2019-2020 roster includes five returning favorites and five new creations, all available in 4-packs of 12oz cans. Here is what you need to know.
Hot or cold, Revolution Brewing sure knows how to throw a release party. Hundreds of barrel-aged fanatics, myself included, made their seasonal pilgrimage to Revolutionâ€™s Kedzie taproom for the latest Deep Wood release. This series has quickly grown to national acclaim thanks to its bold portfolio of Barleywines, Barrel-Aged Stouts and adventurously-boozy experiments like last yearâ€™s Code Switch, a Barrel-Aged Imperial Ale made with blackberries.
Many people associate Deep Wood beers with huge parkas, plunging temperatures and bitter Chicago winters given its annual winter release cadence. Boozy beers that push ABV limits typically go well with sub-zero winter nights. But Revolutionâ€™s Midlife Crisis Barleywine release had none of the expected barrel-aged beer release trimmings. Coats were swapped for tanktops, boots for flip flops, and freezing temps for 100 degrees and brutal humidity.Â
Back in the Spring of 2015, Minnesota breweries entered a canning frenzy, as brewers like Surly and Badger Hill realized the benefits of the convenient packaging format compared to the archaic growler variety. Fulton Brewing also joined the canning fray during that period, becoming one of the first breweries in the bustling Northeast Minneapolis area to do so. A myriad of canned Fulton favorites can be found on shelves across Minnesota. Now, they have announced a new aluminum-clad offering.
I’ve been to numerous beer festivals, including the massive production that is Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp, but I’ve never been to a celebration like FoBAB, and now I think I know why. On a cold Saturday, I arrived to the UIC Forum to a line of at least 150 people, anxiously lined up for Saturday’s afternoon session, which didn’t start for another… two hours. Seeing this first-hand raised my eyebrows, but taking the first sip of barrel-aged beer a little past noon almost made my eyes water. This stuff was not for the faint of heart, and that high-octane appeal brought out only the most fanatical beer lovers to the 15th annual Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers. After getting a good buzz from imbibing in a few more sub-5oz sips, I realized FoBAB was a different beer festival than anything I had experienced before.