Today we go to Kentucky via Oregon and the Hopworks barrel-aged Christmas ale.
Right on time, The Bruery sent me a bottle of the latest Black Tuesday for Barrel-Aged Beer Day earlier this month.
I unfortunately could not crack it open that day but I scheduled it for a long, lazy Sunday. Here are my results…
2017 pours with some loud powerful bubbles. This is the same boozy bourbon load that I remember. But those bubbles add a bit of a cola note chocolate and coconut abound. And it packs heat going down. That espresso head disappears with a quickness. Not as viscous when coming out of chilled to more room temp. Jet black in color.
Eagle Rock has bottled not one but two new beers, Rubus Magnifera & Cerasus Magnifera for their ongoing Woodwork Project.
Here are the new bottles in town:
Cerasus Magnifera – Sour Pale aged with tart cherries & mangoes
Rubus Magnifera – Sour Pale aged with raspberries & mangoes
The ERB “Woodwork Project is dedicated to the venerable art of maturing beer in wooden vessels. Deeply complex and often tart, these beers are a study in balancing the inexorable effects of time, oak, and mother nature.”
The cherry/mango combo would be my first choice.
14%. That is explained by aging a strong ale in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for over 6 months. I haven’t had much from Sanctum Brewing Co. but thought this big beer would be a good re-introduction. And yeah, it has the typical and really nice bourbon aroma. I get coconut and wood and a bit of spirited heat to it. But the taste falls flat after that. The beer is reddish/brown with an expected thin head. The taste is sweet without going too overboard but then nothing else. That sweetness sticks and then there is a slight medicinal finish to it. There are supposed to be notes of vanilla, but they have left the bottle without a trace.
Love the name and label design but the beer needs another layer, vanilla may not have done it but might have helped.
The holidays can make you demented, luckily Ska Brewing has the beer answer for you…
Ska aged their winter pale ale Euphoria in Peach Street Distillers’ bourbon barrels to create: Dementia.
Santa gets the Prairie Artisan Ales treatment for their barrel-aged Christmas release from the Oklahoma brewery.
If you want to throw a curveball at your craft beer Thanksgiving, you can start by getting some old world style ciders to go along with it. You could start with two ciders from Two Towns and their newly christened Traditions line-up:
CIDRE BOUCHÉ: French Style Keeved Cider – 6.5% ABV
“Inspired by the bittersweet ciders of France, Cidre Bouché is made with an Old World process called keeving. We start with 100% traditional cider apple varieties like Kingston Black, Michelin, Reine des Pommes, Dabinett and Muscat de Lense, and then let the fruit ‘sweat’ and intensify in aroma. Next, the apples are crushed and left to soak on the skins before the juice is fermented slowly over the course of a year, and aged in French oak casks. When finished, this keeved cider is rich, thick and brimming with overripe bittersweet apple character. Pairs well with classic French fare— think savory crepes, pork terrine, camembert and blue cheese.”
RIVERWOOD: New World Brut Cider – 6.3% ABV
“Inspired by sparkling brut champagnes of the past, Riverwood is a contemporary take on a classic. Slow fermentation at cold temperatures allows the intense passionfruit-like aroma of freshly picked and pressed Jonagold and Porter’s Perfection apples to flourish. Dry, bright, and floral, this New World cider brings the brut style out of the past and into the present. Pairs well with lobster mushroom risotto, butternut squash ravioli in sage brown butter, asparagus with lemon aioli and Moroccan chicken with dates and braised greens.”
Keep you eyes peeled. This new Crude from El Segundo might just be the perfect present to put under the tree for those who love barrel-aged beers.
Fun Fact: This year’s Firestone Walker Anniversary XX barrel-aged beer is really only the 10 version of the beer. The tradition started with their 10th anniversary beer and has only grown in esteem and blending talent and barrels. So many, many barrels.
It took the competitive wine juices of 17 winemakers who gathered back in August to create this years blend. Scott Hawley of Torrin Vineyard was declared the winner and his blend serves as the base for XX which is broken down from (5) beers and 250 oak barrels!
Parabola –Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout / Aged in New Oak and Bourbon Barrels / 40% of Final Blend
Stickee Monkee –Central Coast Quad Brewed with Belgian Candi and Mexican Turbinado (brown) Sugar/ Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 20% of Final Blend
Velvet Merkin –Traditional Oatmeal Stout / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 17.5% of Final Blend
Bravo –Imperial Brown Ale/ Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 12.5% of Final Blend
Helldorado –Blonde Barleywine / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 10% of Final Blend
Another Fun Fact:
X was sold for $9.99 per 22-ounce bottle and it was considered a really high price, this year bottles will start at $23.99 and be more than worth it.
Ohana Brewing will soon be releasing one of their biggest beers to date when their barrel-aged Imperial Stout, To Play Us Out hits store shelves. Releasing a 12.4% ABV stout now is probably the right play as we actually/hopefully fall into autumn.