Barrels & Brews: It Involves Wine!

Why are we still putting beer in barrels? The answer is simple. Beer and wood have a long lasting relationship.

For centuries beer has been fermented in wood, aged in wood, shipped in wood, and even served in wood. Now I know what you are thinking, shipping beer for long periods of time in wood can only mean one thing, infection. You’re right! The only way to preserve a beer back in the day was to go heavy on the hops or increase the ABV, pushing us towards the modern day use of metal kegs, fermenters and storage tanks. However, there are a few beer styles that depend on wood and thrive with specific bacteria, notably the Sour category. Modernizing this technique, brewers nowadays reuse barrels to infuse their beer with natural wood notes or flavors of residual character, commonly whiskey.

Aging (not to be confused with fermenting) beer in barrels can be quite the lengthy process, ranging from a few short weeks to an entire year; it’s all about the flavor and intended result. Today the options are seemingly endless, using bourbon, tequila, whiskey and now wine barrels, it really boils down to the brewer's imagination and desire for experimenting.

The Flanders Red Ale

Good news folks! Old Redwood Brewing is excited to announce that the Flanders Red Ale everyone has been so patiently waiting for, is now on tap!

Flanders a region of Belgium, famous for their tart Red and Brown Ales, this barrel-aged beauty is one strong with historical traditions. Aged for 18 long months in Fritz Winery Chardonnay barrels, with a unique blend of wild yeasts and bacteria the deep amber color stays true to its Sour roots. Tart but not jaw-cramping sour, the Flanders Red Ale features notes of ripe plum, fresh grapes, and cherry; reminiscent of a fruity textured wine.

Note! Due to the small production of these handcrafted beers, they are only available for a limited time. Making it the perfect reason to join the Old Redwood Beer Club and get a bottle or two of this barrel-aged gem shipped right to your door.

“It’s go BIG or go home!”

Beer & Food Pairing

With such dimensional flavors, it’s go big or go home when pairing food with a barrel-aged sour. Tart, earthy and fruity all at the same time, the complexity offers refreshing components that pair well with savory and spicy regional dishes.

Perhaps a platter of fresh oysters with a squeeze of lemon, your favorite tangy cheese plate, or a spice rubbed Rib Eye. Often featuring a higher level of carbonation, a  barrel-aged sour can also make the perfect palate cleanser before that dessert course is served.

More than just an accompaniment to food, beer makes an excellent ingredient. A barrel-aged Sour is a fantastic replacement for vinegar in a vinaigrette or giving a touch of brightness to a rich BBQ sauce.  

What’s your favorite beer-recipe?

Leave your comment below – I’d love to connect with you about beer, food, travel, and wine!

Kari Jensen