Drinks: Chan­nel­ing spir­its with bar­rel-aged beers

The most in­ter­est­ing beers around taste like more than just beer af­ter spend­ing time in casks other spir­its once called home. By Carey Jones

Bloomberg Businessweek (Europe) - - NEWS -

HARVIESTOUN BREW­ERY OLA DUBH 18

Brewed in: Clack­man­nan­shire, Scot­land Aged in: Scotch

To make Ola Dubh, the brew­ery’s Old En­gine Oil black ale is aged in High­land Park 18-year-old Scotch whisky bar­rels. It smells like “tar, smoke, nuts, tof­fee, and to­bacco,” says Gar­rett Oliver, brew­mas­ter at Brook­lyn Brew­ery.

BROOK­LYN BREW­ERY IM­PROVED OLD FASH­IONED Brewed in: Brook­lyn, N.Y. Aged in: Rye

“Built on the spice notes of a ‘win­ter warmer’—like clove, nut­meg, and cin­na­mon—this take on the clas­sic cock­tail bal­ances bit­ter gen­tian root with cherry juice and sug­ars,” says Bren­nen Wysong, beer afi­cionado and Bloomberg Busi­ness­week copy editor. “The rye malt gives it an ex­tra zing.”

DESCHUTES BREW­ERY THE ABYSS Brewed in: Bend, Ore. Aged in: Bourbon, pinot noir, and neu­tral oak

“Black licorice, vanilla, and cherry fla­vors are prom­i­nent,” Oliver says. “This beer brings an al­most cock­tail-like sen­si­bil­ity to the fore.”

RUS­SIAN RIVER BREW­ING SUP­PLI­CA­TION

Brewed in: Santa Rosa, Calif. Aged in: Pinot noir

“Start­ing with a brown ale base, it gets all the sour­ness from crit­ters liv­ing in the bar­rels, then is hit with the ad­di­tion of cher­ries,” says David Flaherty, au­thor of the Grapes and Grains blog.

FIRE­STONE WALKER BREW­ING AGRESTIC

Brewed in: Paso Robles, Calif. Aged in: French oak, Amer­i­can oak “It be­gins as their flag­ship Dou­ble Bar­rel ale, then it’s trans­ferred to French and Amer­i­can oak bar­rels for a cou­ple of years,” says Kyle Ken­srue, gen­eral man­ager at Ran­dolph Beer in New York. “From the bar­rels, it pulls red berry, toasted oak, and vanilla.”

AL­LA­GASH BREW­ING EVORA

Brewed in: Port­land, Maine Aged in: Brandy “It’s bright and cit­rusy with notes of honey,” says Tris­tan Cole­grove, beer di­rec­tor at Hay­maker Bar and Kitchen in New York. “The Por­tuguese bar­rels lend it some slight oak notes, vanilla, and an anise-like spice.”

FOUNDERS BREW­ING KEN­TUCKY BREAK­FAST STOUT

Brewed in: Grand Rapids, Mich. Aged in: Bourbon

“One of the best ver­sions of the style,” Ken­srue says. “In ad­di­tion to the bourbon bar­rel char­ac­ter, choco­late and coffee are added for a lus­cious, com­plex beauty of a beer.”

CROOKED STAVE SURETTE PRO­VI­SION SAI­SON

Brewed in: Den­ver Aged in: Oak

Oak “el­e­vates the cit­rusy, tart char­ac­ter­is­tics and lets the com­plex, al­most barn­yard-funky char­ac­ter of the yeast de­velop,” Cole­grove says.

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