It can be easy to just forget all but are local breweries with so much choices available. Happens to me all the time which I how I missed two beers from Gulden Draak that look mighty special. Under the Cuvée Prestige moniker they have a straight bourbon barrel-aged beer and they also have a Laphroaig barrel-aged version. I found you spot them, you might want to grab for a special occasion.
I will be in Torrance for two straight Saturdays and the first stop is the Wood Cellar of Smog City as they blowout their barrel-aged beers.
Here is my report:
I had (5) tasters and it was tough choosing what to have. But I had two really great beers on contention for my Best Of 2018 list starting with…
Citra Quercus – Bright hop presence to this blended beer adds lemon notes to the sour creating a near lemonade taste that is fabulous.
Super Spittin’ and Cussin’ – Great spice character and heavy on the sour in this “Ice wine” styled brown with just a little bit of anise to add complexity.
The other three Wood Cellar beers were more interesting and fun but did not reach the heights of my “winners”…
Spiced Summer Saison – mild spice, little lemon, smooth
Moroccan Cuddlebug – very spice forward. Sour comes through but the fruit is lost
Enoki – earthy, funky, nutty
The other highlight was the tour of their wild area that included meeting Cesar, the barrel whisperer and Toby, the inoculator. Hopefully I will be able to glean more Wood and Wild notes from them at a less busy time. We also saw their extra hard work with persimmons.
As usual Laurie and Porter were great hosts. Going out of their way to make sure people were not only having fun and great beer but also being challenged and educated too.
It is not often that the Baltic Porter style shows up on shelves and rarer still to see barrel-aged versions. But Hangar 24 has two variants to try under their Barrel Roll banner.
…but I would try the Polish Breakfast first. Sounds like a good use of brandy barrels to me.
Maybe some of my bellyaching (literal and figurative) has been heard.
From then next beer on (Bravo, by the way), the Firestone Walker Vintage Reserve barrel-aged beers will be packaged up in 12oz and not 22oz bottles.
That includes the later in the year Anniversary XX1. Considering that many finer beer shoppes allow singles sales, that means more people can taste the beer at a lower price point. Or cellar hoarders can buy more and have better tasting parties down the road. However you slice it, it is a much more manageable portion of a big beer that deserves a small snifter.
Back to Bravo though….
The Firestone folks describe Bravo which “has remained one of the driest beers in Firestone Walker’s Vintage Reserve series of barrel-aged beers, and since day one has been considered a vital component in the annual blending of the Anniversary Ale, balancing out some of the stickier components.”
Here in the state of California on the political craft beer front comes this piece of news….
“Before the Governor for action, A.B. 1812 seeks to clarify that beer aged in empty wooden barrels previously used to contain wine or distilled spirits will continue to be defined as “beer” in order to protect the existing regulatory and licensure structure in California. The California Craft Brewers Association, the sponsor of this bill, sought this clarification due to concerns that current law creates ambiguity on how wooden barrel-aged craft beers are defined and categorized for purposes of regulation, distribution, retail sales and taxation.”
Seems obvious to me and many other craft beer geeks but you know politicians, they would have trouble finding a piece of their anatomy with two hands and a flashlight (one of my dad’s favorite political jokes). But seriously, there are so many tiny underwritten sections to state laws regarding beer that it can be frustrating that a little common sense can’t be applied and either have a fast track for fixing things or a way to just ignore it and not enforce it. Thankfully Governor Brown signed this so now we can move on to more legal tweaks to the twisted mess of beer laws in this country.