- Jim Ingram
The popularity of barrel-aged beers has been growing rapidly over the last several years.
The practice of aging beer in wooden barrels to bring about unique and robust flavors may have started 25 years ago in Chicago. According to All About Beer Magazine, Goose Island Beer Company became the first American brewer to produce a bourbon-barrel-aged beer in 1992.
The beer was a hit at the American Beer Festival later that year, and a new way to prepare and appreciate beer in the U.S. was off and running.
You need look no further for proof of the rise in barrel-aging’s popularity than Jungle Jim’s Barrel Aged Beer Bash this Saturday in Fairfield, from 7-9:30 p.m. Organizers say the event originally started with a few dozen such beers on hand. While last year’s bash grew to 80 beers, the 2017 edition promises more than 100 barrel-aged beers to tempt the palate.
Jungle Jim’s says many of the beers featured are not available to the beer-buying public, and come straight from the brewers’ personal cellars. As such, some of the beers may never be available again.
Freshly-made snacks and appetizers will be available, and all participants will receive a commemorative glass from the event. Tickets can be purchased here, with non-drinker tickets also available.
Here are 10 beers that Jungle Jim’s recommends trying at the event: Bell’s Black Note, Urban Artifact’s Thoroughbred Kentucky Mule Variant, Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptista, Taft’s Ale House’s Louisa Bramble, Fifty West Brewing Company’s Death Valley Shootout, Listermann Brewing’s BA Pineapple Upsidedown Aftermath, Sierra Nevada’s BA Narwhal, Merchant du Vin Lindemans’ Spontanbasil, Jackie O’s’ BA Oil of Aphrodite and MadTree Brewing’s Strawberry Levanto.
If you’re looking for an intro to barrel-aged beers, here are three of my favorite (no promises on whether they’ll be at the event, though).
1.) BACKWOODS BASTARD
This Scottish Ale by Founders Brewing Company is one of the stronger barrel-aged options out there, coming in at 11.2 percent alcohol by volume. The craft beer community has also embraced this smoky concoction, giving it high ratings on Untapped and Beer Advocate websites.
Barrel aging isn’t just about tossing beer in with bourbon barrels. Rock Bottom Brewery ages this beer on tequila staves while implementing blue agave for a one-of-a-kind taste. It may not look like much at first, but its smoothness makes it easy to find yourself reaching for one after another.
3.) KENTUCKY BOURBON BARREL ALE
They say you always remember your first, and it’s true. “Beer and bourbon?!” I exclaimed at the time. It may be passé now, but the Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company was also many beer lovers’ first foray into the world of barrel-aged wonder. The sweet taste of bourbon goes down nice and smooth. People either love or hate this beer. Folks, I’m a lover.