Barrel-aged brews have become quite a trend in recent years, but the concept of barrel-aging has been around for thousands of years. According to Hop Culture, the Greeks and Romans first began aging their wine in wooden barrels. Within the next few centuries, European brewers realized that barrels were also a more efficient way of transporting their beer than in the clay vessels that had previously been used. Ultimately, the wooden barrels were realized to have a favorable effect on the taste of what sat inside. Fast-forward a couple millenia to the ever curious American craft beer revolution, when brewers wondered if the delicious beer they were making could get even better by aging it in barrels that had previously housed other beverage. The answer was, simply, yes; and thus, the craft of barrel-aged beers was born.
Since the folks at Goose Island first created their Bourbon County Stout in 1992, bourbon barrels have become one of the most popular types of barrel to age beer in. In order to protect American cooperage (the creation of barrels), any barrels utilized for the distilling of bourbon are limited to one-time use, which means there are a lot of used barrels up for grabs for the use of barrel-aging.
Barrel aging isn’t limited to bourbon though – you’ll find brewers experimenting with pretty much any type of wine or liquor barrel, from tequila to port. We’ve done a handful of barrel-aged beers at Jackalope in the past, some of which have become annual seasonal additions. Tannakin, a bacon flavored mocha stout aged in a whiskey barrel, is one that we look forward to each winter. During one summer, we aged our gose, Casper, in Chardonnay barrels to produce an almost sour-like brew, Drunk Aunt, that paired perfectly with the sunshine. We sat our highly sought-after Lovebird in gin barrels to produce another crowd favorite, Ginerous Lover. The possibilities that open up with the option of barrel-aging are considerable.
Lucky for us, we have a pretty awesome neighbor down the street from the Ranch that we’ll be working with to provide more barrel-aged options in the very near future. We’re super excited to announce a Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood collaboration with our friends at Corsair Distillery! Thanks to some creative thinking about drinking, our taprooms will be stocked with a rotating handle featuring one of our beers aged in a Corsair barrel. First up: Bearwalker in a Triple Smoke Whisky barrel! If it ever gets actually cold in Nashville, you can bet that brew will keep you nice and warm!
Keep up with our new collab every step of the way on our socials and, as always, through this blog! Cheers!