If there is one kind of beer I like more than anything, it’s gotta be a barrel aged beer. Barrel aged with brettanomyces, specifically.
Last year I had my first taste of heaven when I tried a bottle of Sour Cherry Imperial Stout, aged in Pinor Noir barrels, at the Amsterdam Brew House.
Later that fall I tried Red Tape from Indie Ale House, another Pinot Noir aged Imperial Stout, and though awesome, I missed the slight sourness that brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and the cherries gave Amsterdam’s version. I had to have more.
Lucky for me, fall is upon us, and the beer gods have descended! Thanks to Toronto Beer Week (Sept 12-20), September is hosting two awesomely fantastic barrel aged beer events, and I’m going to both of them. First up is The Sacred Oak at Indie Ale House’s barrel aging facility on September 13th, and then comes the joint Great Lakes Brewery and Amsterdam Brew House’s tap takeover, A Night With Great Lakes & Amsterdam, at Bar Hop on September 19th. I can hardly contain my excitement. Among all the gems available on the 19th will be my favourite beer of the summer: Ezra, from the Tank Ten Series. It’s a strong saison aged in Spirit Tree cider barrels, with a slight sour funk from the brett they add to their cider. It’s the summer version of Sour Cherry Imperial Stout, and it’s perfection.
Oh, and the Sour Cherry Imperial Stout is making a comeback too (thanks to Iain McOustra and Flat Rock Cellars), this time without the brett. I’m expecting more of a bold wine flavour.
Look out for many a post about these takeovers, because I’ve only touched the surface here. Some really cool things are happening in the Toronto craft beer scene right now.