Tag Archives: bourbon barrel beer

Thirsty Thursday: Barrel-Aged Libertine

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Oh, boy do I love me some Libertine from Fulton Brewery in Minneapolis. It’s a unique, flavorful imperial red ale.

Oh, boy am I obsessed with bourbon barrel beers.

When we saw this on a shelf in a liquor store recently, it promptly came home with us:

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I love that there were only 2160 of these bottled! This beer was actually aged in rye whiskey barrels, not bourbon.

Believe it or not, we waited about a week before we opened it.

It was worth every minute of the wait.

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Cheers to another Barrel-Aged Beer success!

Thank you Fulton!

~Carrie

My Favorite Beer on TAP!

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A couple of week’s ago, our friend Monkey notified us that my favorite beer was now back in stores. We picked some up right away!

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Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Then we found out that there was a Central Waters Tap Takeover at the Adam’s Street Pub in Green Bay, where we were headed to see family for the holidays.

But alas, when we arrived at the pub at around noon on December 26th, it was closed and we had to lunch elsewhere.

After lunch with the boys at the Green Bay Distillery and watching White Christmas on DVR {followed by which may have included a late afternoon nap}, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back downtown to Adams Street Pub for some Central Waters beer.

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Yes, you read that correctly. There was a tap takeover by my favorite brewery; I was only about ten miles away; and I was considering doing “the usual” instead.

But it was dark and I was still groggy from my nap. (Poor me!) I asked Rob what he wanted to do. Going up the road to Townline for a bite to eat sounded so much easier to both of us.

But I gave it more thought, weighed the options, listed pros and cons…

CONS

  • One of us would have to drive. (Tough to think about when you have access to your limited edition favorite beer!)

PROS

  • We’d get to try the Call Me Old Fashioned, a unique limited release beer that I probably would never get to try again.
  • We go to Townline almost every time we are in Green Bay, usually out of convenience. And while they do have a lot of beers on tap, there is generally only one that we are sort of willing to drink.
  • It would be something new, not the same-old, same-old.
  • We thought there might be a band playing.

I came to my senses. The pros outweighed the cons. And the con was a stupid one. Nothing said we had to get stupid drunk. I’d rather have a couple of my favorite beers and enjoy them! So we headed back to Adams Street Pub.

And I was happy to find that *all* of the tap takeover beers remained on tap!

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 Just look at those beautiful heron taps lining the bar!

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I had to start with the Call Me Old Fashioned. It’s very limited and a beer that just screams Wisconsin!” Anyone who has grown up in Wisconsin and moved away eventually comes back and drinks an Old Fashioned with family when visiting, even if they never really drank them before.

Everyone has an idea of how a a true Old Fashioned should be made. But there are several variations. When in a Wisconsin tavern, you should order them this way:

  • Brandy-Old Fashioned-Sweet
  • Whiskey-Old Fashioned-Sour {The way my mom likes them!}
    And so on…

Old Fashioned Mix can be found in stores in Wisconsin, but you can also make it yourself. {Although, I don’t know anyone who does that.} They are often garnished with maraschino cherries {and sometimes olives}. Customizable to your tastes, I’d say.

Here is a Central Waters’ beer with an Old Fashioned twist:

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Central Waters Call Me Old Fashioned – American Red/Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels with oranges and maraschino cherries

 Oh boy was that yummy.

Did it taste Old-Fashion-y? I’m not quite sure. But I liked it. A lot. But I also like barrel-aged beers. So there’s that. I loved the concept of this one. And the name.

Because I was driving, I allowed myself only one more beer. It was going to have to be my fave… I had finally had the opportunity to have it on tap!

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And I was not disappointed. I savored Every. Single. Drop. Rob went with the Headless Heron Barrel Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale. I totally forgot how wonderful this beer is!

From Beer Advocate:

Generously spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, this barrel-aged pumpkin spice ale overflows with dark fruit, dried fruit, and hints of bourbon.

One sip and I tasted all of those spices and was whisked back to fall. Mmmmm…

Our main purpose for visiting Adams Street Pub was to sample the Central Waters beers. However, because the ones we chose were high in alcohol, it was necessary to get some food in our tummies, too.

While on beer #1, Rob ordered us these:

Pub Cheese - House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce served with Pretzel Bites (Cup-$5, Bowl-$9)

Pub Cheese – House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce served with Pretzel Bites (Cup-$5, Bowl-$9)

I have to say that this cup of Pub Cheese was one of the best appetizer values I’ve seen. I normally don’t care for cheese “sauces” because they make me think of something that comes out of can. But I did like this one. What I liked even more were the pretzel bites! Think of one of those big, soft pretzels, but in little one-inch portions. Now think of them tasting even better. The last big pretzel I had at Lambeau Field was overly salty. These were utter perfection. Each bite had that slightly crisp outer pretzel crust with a warm, doughy inside.

I wouldn’t let them go to waste. When Rob was finished, I ate Every. Single. Last. One. For that reason, I was getting full.

I had originally decided, once and for all, to get the Friday Fish Fry. But I was way, too full for that now. Besides, the portions were huge!

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I had also been considering building my own burger with 3yr cheddar, garlic ailoi on a pretzel bun…

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But that, too, seemed like too much food. Instead, Rob suggested that we split the Breakfast Burger, substituting fries with cheese curds. Splitting something sounded like a great idea to me!

Breakfast Burger - Pretzel Bun, Nueske's Bacon, House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Tomato Jam, Fried Egg - $9 (substitute Cheese Curds for fries +$2)

Breakfast Burger – Pretzel Bun, Nueske’s Bacon, House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Tomato Jam, Fried Egg – $9 (substitute Cheese Curds for fries +$2)

Only, as Rob was placing the order, he also decided to order this:

Gourmet Grilled Cheese - Renard's Cheddar Cheese, Nueske's Bacon &Tomato Jam

Gourmet Grilled Cheese – Renard’s Cheddar Cheese, Nueske’s Bacon & Tomato Jam

His plan? We would each take a half of a sandwich and he’d eat the onion rings, since I’m not a huge fan. So. Much. Food!

Almost everything about the Breakfast Burger and Gourmet Grilled Cheese was heaven.

First: You had me at Pretzel Bun, dear burger. Then, when Rob split it in half, the runny yolk spilled out. I was in love! I passed my bacon pieces over to him and delighted in the juiciness of the burger.

The grilled cheese was nice and melty and perfectly buttered and grilled. You are asking how one could mess up a grilled cheese? While I’d agree, I’ve also had bad ones. And that’s just wrong.

But there is one thing that I did not like about these two sandwiches. And it might surprise you.

It was the tomato jam.

All of the tomato jams I have had in the past were savory. This one was sweet. It could have been strawberry jam, for all I could tell. It was overpowering. I had to scrape it off. It it weren’t for the tomato jam, this would have been a practically perfect pub meal.

And for the record, Adams Street Pub does have a lot of beer and whiskey options!

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Thank you @CWBrewing and @AdamsStreetPub for putting on the Tap Takeover. Thank you very much. Now, to convince my husband to whisk me away to Amherst, Wisconsin next September for a little birthday at the brewery. 😉

Have you had tomato jam?

Was it sweet or savory?

Did it work with what you were eating?

Cheers~
Carrie

Fantasy Draft Friday – 2014

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Yesterday, I gave some tips links on how to soak up every last bit of summer in the Twin Cities.

After summer is gone, fall means…

FOOTBALL!

And although I’ll talk about football briefly, the real purpose of this Fantasy Draft post is to pick my favorite BEERS! Click here to read about my 2013 Fantasy Draft Six-Pack.

But first, I need to announce that I’m especially excited for football season this year because I am finally a…

 

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Yes, that’s right. I put my name on The Waiting List 20 years ago and I now have season tickets – for the Gold Package. For those of you who don’t know, the Gold Package consists of three games. These tickets date back to the days when The Packers played three games a year at Milwaukee County Stadium and the remaining games were played in Green Bay. If I wanted to pass on the three-game (Gold) package, I could keep my name on the waiting list for the Green package, which is for the rest of the games. The wait for that? Estimated at another 17 to 20 years.

Living in Minnesota, I’ll think I’ll take what I can get!

As much as I love Green Bay football, I have to tell you that my Fantasy Draft (beer) choices for 2014, will not be served at Lambeau Field.

What, you mean that they don’t cater to MOI?!!!

~

Rules for Fantasy Draft 2014:

1) No repeat beers from last year. (Although I still love all of those!)

2) No repeat breweries within the same six-pack. For example, even if I am in love with two beers from say, Sam Adams, I can only include one.

~

Fantasy Draft 2014

J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider (MI)

So, cider isn’t exactly the same as beer; but I’m putting it in my six-pack anyway! I’ve been meaning to tell you alphoto 1(2)l about this cider for probably a year.

It is my favorite cider of all time.

It takes like the yummy non-filtered (non-alcoholic) ciders you get right at an orchard. It’s tasty and perfect. I’ve tried other “farmhouse” style hard ciders since, thinking it was just the type I liked. But I was wrong.

Nothing else comes close.

~

Dangerous Man Hazelnut Porter (MN)photo 1(1)

Sorry, you can’t get this beer anywhere but the taproom. So if you are in the Twin Cities, it’s important that you make a pilgrimage. I’m not even sure if it’s on tap all of the time because they brew everything in small batches. But I’ve never had anything like it.Tthe aromas of hazelnut alone are transcending. It smells like they have been toasted. And the flavor? Just as rewarding.

~

New Belgium Coconut Curry Hefeweisen (CO)photo 3(1)

I normally don’t even like New Belgium’s beers. The exception was when I discovered their Cocoa Molé a couple of years ago at the Happy Gnome.

Well, they did it again.

New Belgium came up with something unique and delicious. We discovered the Coconut Curry Hefeweisen at Devil’s Advocate about a week ago. I was really surprised when my wheat-beer-despising husband ordered it. In fact, he’s not even a curry fan. But he was intrigued. And he loved it. I took a sip… and I stole it. He had to order his own.

Rob didn’t get anything but coconut; but there is a hint of heat on the finish, which is what I feel is what a good curry will do. This beer might sound kind of strange,;but it’s very rewarding and much better than I had expected. I want one while I’m writing this. It’s a specialty beer that appears to be bottled, but I haven’t done any research to see if we can get it anywhere else.

~

Horny Goat Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter (WI)photo 2(1)

Here’s another brewery which I’ve never found outstanding…  But when Rob picked up this beer,  it wasn’t the brewery that turned me off. It was the name/description. I mean, come on, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. I personally, had never seen peanut butter done in a beer before. And it actually sounded kind of disgusting to me.

But I tried it anyway…

And they nailed it.

Seriously. I stole one from Rob’s six-pack. And he smiled. Trust me, give this one a go.

~

Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Toasted Chilies (MI)photo 2

You’ve probably read enough about my love of Bourbon Barrel Beers. And Dragon’s Milk is no exception. But when Rob saw this one at Blue Max in Burnsville, he thought of me. And he bought it as a surprise. It’s kind of like Dragon’s Milk meets the Cocoa Molé I was mentioning above. Have you had one of those chocolate bars with chilies in them? This is like that.

But better.

It’s Beer.

It’s Bourbon Barrel Beer.

It’s Dragon’s Milk.

With a spicy finish.

love. Love. LOVE.

~

Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout (WI)

I couldn’t leave this one out. I’m still stuck in my love of Bourbon Barrel Beers.

And this is my favorite beer of all time.CW - BB Stout

I promised it to my dad for Father’s Day; but I can’t find it now. My local MGM is no longer carrying it. I can settle for the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, which I love 99.9% as much. (I did a side by side tasting!) But I’m sure that my faves are just not around this time of year. I wanted to talk to Central Waters at the Canterbury Beer Fest. But they didn’t show up.

Seriously.

I searched the festival over several times. They were a no-show. {Insert Sad Face here.} I need to take a serious roadtrip to their taproom in Amherst, Wisconsin. They have many more Brewer’s Reserve beers that I’d like to try… Well, if they are available. I could become a stalker. Anyone want to join me?

~

Coming over to my house?

Pick up any one of these beers and you’ll win me over. 😉

Cheers~
Carrie

Barleywine

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Happy Wine Wednesday!

Barleywine, however, is not a wine at all!

So should I say…

“Happy Barleywine Wednesday?”

So what is it then?

Because barleywine isn’t made from grapes, but grain, it is actually a beer. It’s a type of ale that was supposedly developed in England a couple of hundred years ago to replace the beloved claret wine that the English could not import from the French during war. This style of beer amped up the alcohol percentage closer to that of wine, giving it its name.

I love the description of the Southern Tier Barleywine on this menu at the Happy Gnome:

Barleywine - Gnome Desc

Ha ha. Yeah, you probably wouldn’t want to drink more than one. Maybe, two? This beer is all about quality over quantity, people.

Like most ales, English and American versions of barleywine are usually pretty distinct. Rob and I enjoyed the two styles side-by-side at The Gnome recently:

Barleywines

There is an unmistakeable difference in flavor! Because I’m not great with descriptors when it comes to beer, I thought the English Meantime Barleywine tasted more, well… English. But that’s probably because I’ve been drinking more American craft brews for some time now. It’s been a while since I’ve had any English ales. It brought me “back” to those times when I had.

Barleywine descriptions

But I’ll have to disagree with The Gnome’s description of the English barleywine. Yes, English barleywines are the more classic, balanced style. However, I don’t think American craft breweries are trying to emulate them. Generally speaking, I find that American barleywines, like American ales, tend to be more hopped up. Maybe things are changing?

No matter what, the alcohol is there – usually 8% – 15%. You won’t miss that. Today, we find many more Imperial and Double style beers that are also high in alcohol. Does this make them barleywines? No, not necessarily. Barleywine is more a style of beer, from which other high-alcohol beers may have evolved.

Still, generally speaking, many barleywines can be cellared and aged like wine! You’ll find a lot more complexity in a barleywine than you will in your typical ale.

Speaking of cellaring and beer evolution, one of my favorite barleywines puts its vintage year on the bottle, just like you’d find on that of a wine bottle.

CW - BBB Vintage

Okay, you have probably guessed by now that my favorite barleywine is aged in Bourbon barrels. But I’m kind of obsessed with the bourbon-barrel style right now. Who makes this beer, do you ask?

CW - BB Barleywine

It’s Central Waters Brewing Company out of Amherst, WI. This baby isn’t easy to find, nor cheap. But it’s sooooooo worth it. Remember, quality over quantity people.

I don’t drink barleywine very often…

But when I do…

It’s the Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

~

Now, I’m just wondering if I can hold on to one to see if it really does get better with age:

 CW - Better with Age

Have you had a barleywine?

If so, what did you think?

Do you have a favorite?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy Draft Friday

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This post was inspired by Paige at Alcohol by Volume who recently curated a six-pack for the Four Firkins, a beer store here in the Twin Cities where you can find one of the widest selections. At the end of her fantasy draft post, after listing the six beers she selected, she asks the question:

And if you could chose six beers to represent yourself, what would you choose?

This really got me thinking… There was no way I could list six beers off the top of my head. I needed to give it more thought. I’m not sure that I could pick six beers that represented me. I would probably just end up picking six beers I like right now. And we all know that our tastes change.

For example, for me, 2012 was the year of the IPA. I was a hophead. But I sipped a lot less of those in 2013. I probably wouldn’t put one of those in my six-pack now.

Instead, I decided to create a six-pack of beers that represent this past year.

Fantasy Draft 2013

Indeed LSD Honey Ale (MN)

This beer doesn’t have great ratings over at Beer Advocate, but I love it. It’s an ale brewed with lavender, sunflower honey and dates – LSD. The lavender is evident, some may even think overpowering. But those people don’t like lavender. I do. It reminds me of Provence. And I’m a francophile. It’s a no-brainer.

~

018Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat (MA)

Ahhh… This is what summers are made of! Or at least the week or so we spend in Michigan in the summer. It just makes me happy. And while I am busy feeling like a kid again, I can take the afternoon and and sip one of these like an adult. Well, with a cherry on top bottom.

~

Southern Tier Pumking AleSouthern Tier Pumking Ale (NY)

In the fall, I almost get annoyed with all of the pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that all over the blogisphere. I just want everyone to stop the pumpkin-ing of everything already! But this year, I realized, that I really do like pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs, especially this beer. In 2012, it sold out so early everywhere that we only got to enjoy it once. But in 2013, we found Pumking at Stone Tap as early as August! Then, in fear that it would sell out soon, we sipped it every time we found it available including at Devil’s Advocate, Groveland Tap and The Lowry {long overdue Restaurant Impression coming next week!}

~

FultonFulton The Libertine Imperial Red Ale (MN)

I never thought I’d ever dig a red ale. And while I did discover it beforehand, we took our first trip to the Fulton Brewery in November. And while I love Fulton’s Worthy Adversary just as much, if not more, the Imperial Red Ale was a unique find for me. And the name is perfect for the beer. From their website:

A Declaration of Brewing Independence. A libertine is someone living free of society’s restraints. Similarly, The Libertine doesn’t constrain itself with preconceived notions of what a beer style should be. Loaded with malts that include the UK’s premium Maris Otter and Caramel 60, and topped off with Rye to impart a distinct reddish hue, the Libertine is a malt-dominated red ale like none you’ve ever had before. It boasts a rich, indulgent body without being overly sweet. Conventional classifications fail The Libertine, but who really wants to play by the rules anyway?”

~

photo 1O’So Night Train Oatmeal Porter (WI)

Since my husband and I praised this beer the first time my dad had us try it, he seemed to always make sure there was some of it on hand when we came into town. We can’t get it in Minnesota and even in Wisconsin, it can be hard to find. And every descriptor on that bottle works. So good. O’so good.

~

086Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout (CA)

2013 whas the year of the Bourbon Barrel Beers for me. So which one to choose? I’ve been a fan of the bourbon barrel-aged brown ale from Wisconsin Tyranena’s Rocky’s Revenge for years from the first time I sipped it on a dock in Hayward, Wisconsin. I’ve even discovered and kicked back plenty of bottles and glasses of the smooth and lovely Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout from Michigan. On my birthday this past year, I almost passed up an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, until I learned that the “XV” was aged in bourbon barrels! But the I selected the Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin as part of my six-pack because sipping it at the PUBlic House in Temecula was the start to our late afternoon / early evening of a wonderful craft brewery crawl where I came to love Bourbon Barrel Beers even more. I really hope our local breweries jump on this band wagon soon!

~

So there you have it, my friends, my fantasy draft for 2013. I’m not even sure if you can get all of these in Minnesota or where you live. But by now, you know that I love to travel. So the fact that some of these beers were tasted on vacation do represent me and where I’ve traveled in 2013, too.

What beer(s) represent(s) your 2013?

Cheers~
Carrie