#BarrelAgedBeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Whatever your passion, whatever the thing that makes the world shine that little bit brighter, makes your heart beat that little bit faster, a glimpse behind the velvet curtain of how that magic is made is an immeasurable treat. Whether you’re my dad touring the Long Room at Lord’s Cricket Ground or my nephew hanging out with the drivers backstage at the Formula One, getting a sneaky peek behind the scenes is what it’s all about. For a dedicated Texan beer lover, getting a glimpse of the inner machinations of our oldest craft brewery—a two-time Great American Beer Festival Brewery of the Year-winning behemoth whose barrel-aged program is the stuff of round-the-block queues—is that trip through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia.
Continuing a trend of California brewers developing new Barleywine-based beer styles, we now visit SoCal where Kyle Harrop of Horus Aged Ales has developed CrystAle. This 100% Crystal Malt riff on Barleywine began as a self challenge and morphed into something truly unique, combining elements of several styles into a new barrel aged option in Kyle’s repertoire. Built Different is the first CrystAle Kyle released, giving a peek into the philosophy and method behind developing a new beer style.
Beer styles reflect the times in which they originate. Once upon a decade or so ago in craft beer, the idea of a pint glass filled with opaque orange juice-looking liquid whose taste most closely resembles a tropical smoothie would be preposterous. Alas, over the past 10+ years Hazy IPAs have come to dominate the craft beer landscape. Some styles are but a blip on the map – Brut IPAs sought a dry easy drinking alternative to the Hazy but had no staying power. This more easily palatable yet still juicy desire has led to the recent proliferation of Cold IPAs and modern West Coast IPAs utilizing lager yeast and modern hop varietals to reach that desired end. Despite this constant evolution, some beer styles seem timeless despite only recently being developed. Such a style is Munichwine developed by Brad Clark of Private Press Brewing. Having tweaked and perfected the style to his liking, Clark worked with Firestone Walker Brewing to brew a collaboration Munichwine at their facility and then age it in bourbon barrels, resulting in Dividing Time – an exclusive release for members of Firestone Walker’s beer club, the Brewmaster’s Collective.
Up until this point, the Barrel Room Spotlight has exclusively featured brewery programs specializing in malty, high-gravity, oak-aged beers. For this installment, Floodland Brewing breaks the mold. We had the privilege of interviewing founder and brewer Adam Paysse to gain some insight into Floodland’s mixed fermentation portfolio, some of his approaches to culture collection and ingredients, and how he is able to assert his vision through unique, high-quality, bottle-conditioned beers.
Breweries are always looking for new and unique ways to share their beers. Recently, one way that many have looked to showcase their barrel room in particular has been through barrel picks.
Beginning today, Firestone Walker has opened up membership to its 2024 Brewmaster’s Collective, an exclusive beer club that allows members to dive deep into the minds of the brewers and experience the barrel-aging mastery that Firestone Walker has obtained. “If you’re into barrel-aged beers, you’re going to love what we have in store for you,” says Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster at Firestone Walker.
Mortalis Brewing out of Avon, NY, has been making a lot of noise recently in the world of craft beer. Whether it be their smoothie-style Sours or their big and brooding barrel-aged offerings, this talented group have proven exactly why they belong in the conversation of being one of the best young breweries in the country. For this Mother’s Day, there may not be a better beer to open to honor mothers everywhere than the Peach Brandy Barrel-Aged Leto Imperial Stout.
Colorado craft beer fans will have one less major beer festival on the calendar for 2023. WeldWerks recently announced they are hitting pause on hosting the WeldWerks Invitational as they focus time and energy on their largest brewhouse expansion to date. “This is a good year to pause and reevaluate what the experience of the Invitational is and what we want it to be and how we want to keep progressing it,” says Kristin Popcheff, director of events & experience at WeldWerks.
Some breweries become known for a certain style of beer and then struggle to expand beyond that, trapped in the successes of their past. While it is never a bad thing to have notoriety for a particular style, it can leave a brewery in a difficult spot as they seek to diversify their lineup and adapt to the everchanging beer landscape. Casey Brewing is known for their incredible sour beer program, churning out highly sought-after Saisons and Wild Ales since 2013. Finding themselves with some extra tanks and a desire to open a new taproom, Casey made the decision to venture into non-sour beer, doing something brewery founder Troy Casey said would never happen. A prophetic cliché that morphed into an incredible barrel aged Barleywine, Casey BA Never Say Never Barleywine exemplifies the non-sour quality of the brewery’s side dabbles.
If you operated a regional brewery and suddenly found yourself with extra tank capacity, what would you do? Would you pump out more of the beer you’ve been making seeking to increase your market presence? Would you offer contract brewing to smaller or gypsy brewers? Or would you completely revamp your barrel aging philosophy, taking a fresh perspective on how you create barrel aged Stouts? When presented with this exact scenario in 2020, Breakside Brewery out of Portland, Oregon chose this last option and created a blended Stout program.
River North Brewery has gained a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to ABV, and for their 11th anniversary they have turned the dial all the way to 11. Or perhaps that is all the way to 23, matching the monstrous alcohol percentage of Anniversary 11, a quadruple barrel aged Stout that pushes ABV boundaries. River North is ringing in Year 11 with an emphatic statement of a beer that deserves to be talked about.
The Eighth State enters the Spotlight as one of the most unique breweries featured in this series so far. We spoke with head brewer and co-founder Cameron Owen to learn more—not only about the barrel program they’re running, but also to gain more insight on the mindset at The Eighth State as a whole. Departing from the traditional brewery model, Owen and The Eighth State transcend what we think about beer. It’s a lifestyle project run on passion and creativity, and it’s a mentality that has led to the development of some of the most exciting beers in the industry.
The first brewery cast in the Spotlight in 2023, Phase Three Brewing is a welcomed addition to this growing series. A culmination of three phases of built relationships, experience and passion, the story behind this young brewery never ceases to garner continued support. We had the opportunity to speak with Shaun Berns, co-founder and Head Brewer at Phase Three, to not only learn more about his passion project as a whole but to hear specifically about their impressive barrel program that has people across the country talking.
After an extended Holiday Hiatus, the Spotlight is back and featuring a true powerhouse from the Rockies: WeldWerks Brewing. From humble beginnings in a Colorado garage in 2009 to a friendly wager at the 2014 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, Neil Fisher and WeldWerks Brewery finally made its long-awaited debut in 2015 in Greeley, CO.
Welcome to Round 3 of the Spotlight! For this installment all eyes are on Horus Aged Ales, a one-man operation out of Oceanside, CA. Kyle Harrop, the mastermind behind Horus, originally established himself in 2015. From there, he progressed it from a humble homebrew operation into what it has become today. Through experimental barrel-aging, unique adjunct additions, and countless collaborations with breweries all over the country, Horus has been able to stand out in one of the most competitive beer regions in the United States. We had the opportunity to pick Kyle’s brain and learn more about the methods and techniques he uses, and gain some further insight into what makes his barrel program successful.
The holiday season is officially upon us, and that means the thrill of shopping for others in crowded spaces has begun. Instead of fighting the ravenous hordes at a tortuous big box store, why not enjoy some tasty beer? Black Friday marks a big day in the craft beer community as many breweries release special and limited edition beers, many of them made big and boozy for a warming liquid cold weather blanket. We have rounded up a list of 2022 Colorado Black Friday craft beer releases for your perusal and enjoyment. Convince the family to stop by one of these establishments while you’re out and about fighting off the crowds and that turkey hangover. Beer also makes for a great present for that special friend or family member!
Entering the Barrel Room Spotlight for round two is another young but quickly-growing brewery out of Avon, New York. Since opening their doors in 2018, Mortalis Brewing has striven to create a portfolio of beers that both utilize the finest ingredients and break the mold to stand out in a competitive market. Beyond that, they want their beers to be enjoyed in a relaxed environment that promotes memorable and heartfelt human connection. Through this unpretentious and admirable formula, Mortalis has also succeeded in establishing a strong program of barrel-aged beers. We had the opportunity to speak with Paul Grenier, one of the co-owners of Mortalis Brewing, and really get a “behind-the-scenes” look at the inner workings of their barrel room.
The results are IN and we now know all of the big award winners from this year’s 2022 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB). This year’s 20th anniversary of FoBAB was once again a spectacular success with over 160 breweries showcasing the country’s absolute best producers in the wood and barrel-aged beer categories.
As we noted in our Tips to Have a Great Time at FoBAB article, The Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB) is a challenging festival to navigate. The sheer magnitude of breweries alone make it tough. And, the vast majority of beers served are either high-ABV or require one to consume some Tums. Do you want to be stumbling or rumbling? One might wonder why anyone would dare attend an event that challenges the liver, the gut, and the mind. Well, because it’s some of the best beer in the world. It’s where brewers meet distillers and where chemistry meets artistry. It’s good to try the beers you know, but it’s also good to try something new — but which ones?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The next Revolution Brewing Deep Wood release will feature a trio of returning entries including two classics and one other highly popular returner.