Beers have been stored in wood for centuries. Historically, it was simply a convenient water-tight vessel. Today, brewers are using them because the wood itself adds character to the beer, whether it be subtle notes of the wood itself, flavors created by microbes living within the porous wood, or flavor fortification from spirits or wine previously held in those barrels. Today, barrels can be considered ingredients themselves and brewers can use them to add depth and character to their beers.
But working with barrels can is time-consuming and unpredictable. We talk with three brewers with substantial barrel programs about how they think about barrel-aged beer.
Brandon Jones is an avid sour beer fan. The first sour beer he tasted was Liefmans Goudenband in early 2004. From there, his love to seek out any sour beer to sample and learn to from those examples began, and led to the founding of Embrace the Funk, now part of Yazoo Brewing.
Many times bacteria and wild yeasts in beer are considered a flaw and beer destroyers. A growing number of breweries, home brewers and consumers are embracing the “funk”. The funk is spontaneous fermentation, wild yeast and bacteria that give sour/specialty beers their distinctive flavor. These types of beers have been produced for over 500 years. Jones hopes to make the world of sour beers a bit more approachable so even more people can embrace the funk.
Joel Stickrod is the founder of Barrique Brewing & Blending. He moved from a modest barrel-storage space into his own taproom in the heart of Nashville several years ago and is bringing his beer vision to the people.
Originally the brewery was focused on wild ales, usually blended, often fruited, and those remain on offer. The new space has allowed him to branch out into lagers, pub ales, and rauchbiers done in his style. He has a passion for historical styles, blending, barrels, and local ingredients.
Augie Carton is the founder and brewer of Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. He is also co-host of the Steal This Beer podcast. Known for his innovation with culinary ingredients in beer, he is always looking for the next bit of inspiration to present itself.
This Episode is Sponsored by:
Estrella Galicia is an independent, family-owned brewery in northwest Spain, founded in 1906. Estrella Galicia Cerveza Especial, a world class lager is brewed with the finest malt and locally cultivated Galician hops in a state-of-the-art facility in A Coruna. Recognized around the world for quality and exceptional character. Estrella Galicia is “A beer like no other.”
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