Wintertime is the season for dark beers like stout and porter, and beer that has been aged in a whiskey barrel offers a particularly warming sensation with added notes of oak, vanilla, and spice. There are two new barrel-aged beers available just in time for the holidays, both from craft breweries that have collaborated with some top-tier whiskey distilleries.
First up is the brand-new Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter from Harpoon Brewery, which has locations in Boston and Vermont. Not too far from the Vermont facility is the WhistlePig distillery, so it made perfect sense for the two companies to work together on this new beer. They decided to take the brewery’s already successful Baltic Porter and age it in WhistlePig rye whiskey barrels for a period of time. The resulting beer is sweet and malty, with hints of vanilla, baking spice, and dried fruit that pop throughout each sip. According to Dan Kenary, CEO and co-founder of Harpoon, the plan was to reintroduce this beer with what he calls a special edge. “We thought, what better way to foster innovation than to partner with our neighbors at WhistlePig,” he said in a press release, “bringing our brewers and their talented distillers together for a meaningful and delicious collaboration.”
Next up is Brooklyn Brewery’s collaboration with Four Roses Bourbon. This beer is a Russian imperial stout that was aged for a few months in Four Roses barrels specially selected by master distiller Brent Elliott and re-fermented using champagne yeast in the bottle. The partnership came about due to the close relationship between Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and Four Roses COO and Director of Operations Ryan Ashley. The beer, called Black Ops, is sweet with chocolate and oak notes, and a silky mouthfeel with subtle carbonation.
Harpoon’s Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter will be available starting this month for $14 for a 22-oz bottle. Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops is available now for $23 – $27 for a 750ml bottle.
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