#BarrelAged – PorchDrinking.com
On February 2, 1989, Karl Strauss Brewing Company opened their first brewery on Columbia St. in downtown San Diego, CA. Thirty years later, they are still going strong with 10 brewpubs scattered from San Diego to Orange County and two locations in Los Angeles County.
When the chill of winter sets in, in the Midwest, we all pile on the layers. Wool socks, scarves, non-ironic stocking caps. But with the sun still setting before you can make it home from work, there’s one more trick to help warm you up – bourbon. One sip warms you from the inside out and takes away that chill that never seems to subside.
When calendars turn to a new year, the barrel-aged beer craze tends to die down just a little with most of the breweries having already released their clean bourbon barrel-aged rarities to the public. With so many breweries now producing barrel-aged beers not just in the winter months, but year-round, where does this style go from here?
We are officially in the middle of the holiday week, and it’s probably time for a nice break from all the festivities. Here is what your favorite PorchDrinkers are enjoying this holiday season, it’s time for another installment of What We’re Drinking.
With Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout now fully released and Revolution’s Deep Wood series with one more small release in January, we can take a step back and see how these beers stacked up against one another this year.
In no way am I saying that these are the best and only barrel-aged Stouts coming out of Chicago that we should talk about this season. However, when you have two behemoths like Revolution and Goose Island in one city, it’s hard not to compare them side-by-side with their biggest releases.
When it comes to defining the character of a brewery, there are a lot of decisions to be made, the most important being the type of beer that will be brewed. And Wooden Cask Brewing knew that providing the same modern styles as other breweries wouldn’t make them stand out; it also didn’t represent who they are.
So to gain recognition and embrace their favorite styles, Wooden Cask brews traditional styles that are often overlooked as other breweries are making hazy IPAs and pastry stouts.
Epic Brewing has been a mainstay in Salt Lake City, UT since its genesis and as they continued to grow, added a Denver location in 2013. Their burgeoning beer roster is host to innovative beer that steers the entire industry in a new direction, as well as iconic anchors that satisfy the staunchest of purists. However, Big Bad Baptist, their iconic barrel-aged stout, has become the centerpiece that preaches to the ethos of both categories.
When you hear New Holland Brewing you probably think of Mad Hatter IPA or perhaps more commonly, Dragon’s Milk. The barrel-aged Stout from the Michigan brewery has become an industry staple amongst the craft beer world and with a consistent recipe and proper barrel-aging, this beer is a go-to during Stout season.
If Greg Hall hadn’t been at a Beer, Bourbon and Cigar dinner with Jim Beam’s Booker Noe when Goose Island was nearing its 1,000th batch of beer, who knows if we would have Bourbon County Stout today?
While the calendar might say August, the 2018-19 Revolution Brewing Deep Wood Series announcement shows us that barrel-aged season is just around the corner.
After an incredibly successful 2017-18 release which produced some of the best barrel-aged beers released from any Chicagoland brewery, Revolution is going big this year with a release of ten different beers.
Banded Oak Brewing Barrel-Aged Atomga comes with an intriguing backstory: it was brewed to celebrate the release of the band Atomga’s album, “AGA” and the recipe resulted from a collaboration with Bodebrown, a Brazilian brewery.
But, a great story means nothing if the beer is subpar. So, rather than provide an article filled with interviews and storytelling, I decided as a writer to concentrate solely on the beer.
Beer pairing dinners are forcing their way into the spotlight, fighting for the same notoriety as the traditional wine pairing dinners many of us are accustomed to seeing. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or another special occasion, a multi-course menu with a specific wine for each course is a welcome treat from any restaurant. Fort Collins’ Mainline Ale House takes this concept and turns it into something those of us in Colorado will be more receptive to—beer pairing dinners.
Mainline Ale House is not content with beers from some of the biggest names in the craft beer game. While Odell and Prost have made their presence felt with the previous beer dinners, this time Mainline turned to Snowbank Brewing for their February beer pairing dinner. Big, bold flavors were on display, and Snowbank brought some of its flagship beers to the table, while showcasing new heavy hitters and imperial showstoppers. The meal truly highlighted these beers and the magic that Snowbank is working with in their taproom while showcasing the talented kitchen at Mainline.
While barrel-aged season peaks in November, there are still great barrel-aged beers being released into early 2018. Surly Brewing is known for a variety of beers, but their stout series, Darkness, is one of the best known beers the Minneapolis brewery releases. The barrel-aged version of Darkness hit shelves recently, so naturally we cut through the wax and poured a glass to see how this year’s version came out.
About a year ago I wrote how in 2017 I was going to stop cellaring beers and enjoy them fresh. The article got way more exposure than I would have ever thought and it brought out some pretty strong emotions in people—both for and against cellaring.
If you’re in Chicago in November you’ll find a never-ending lineup of great barrel-aged beers being released seemingly every week. In addition to constant releases, you also have FoBAB in the beginning part of the month. This year, one release to not overlook is Revolution Brewing’s Deep Wood Series which gets released Nov 17.
Barrel-aged beers are the dope suits of the brewing world—looking good and ready for a party. Across the nation, brewery’s special releases and anniversary parties frequently involve something from a barrel, and bottle share parties are routinely marked by ice-filled buckets of barrel-aged whales. The Festival of Barrel Aged Beer (FoBAB) involves a sea of brewing alchemy; it’s the A-list party of brews. One will find special beer after special beer produced by some of the nation’s best breweries and barreling programs.
Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].
With the 15th annual Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB) less than a week away, the weeks and months leading up to this year’s event have been different than in the past. With a price increase and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild releasing the brewery lineup before the event for the first time ever, there seems to be more talk about FoBAB than in recent years.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB), event organizers have released the complete list of breweries that will be pouring prior to the event for the first time ever. While the specific beers can’t be listed due to the competition and judging aspect tied to the festival, more hype has been added for the November event as festival-goers now have a preview of what’s to come.
Drake’s Brewing Co has been releasing a steady stream of 500ml bottles of specialty brews this year and their newest, Tart Breaker, is out to steal your heart. Members of Drake’s ’89 Club, named after the year they were founded, are able to snap up bottles a week before the public.