Written by Matthew Kay
When most people think of barrel-aged beers, the first thing that comes to mind is dark beer. For some it’s a rich, chocolate stout; for others a boozy, sweet quad. While this year’s Festival of Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago had and incredible array of bold dark beers, it also had a plentiful selection of light—and often sour—barrel aged beer. Here of some of my favorites from the lighter side of FOBAB.
Atrial Rubicite – Jester King
This selection is definitely not a diamond in the rough, but it was my first time trying it and it is certainly worthy of mention. One of the fruitier beers I tasted at FOBAB, this beer was an explosion of raspberry. Pours a brilliant, pinkish color with a slight haze. The raspberry flavor is dominant, and this beer is pretty tart. The finish is surprisingly smooth and sweet, with some oak from the barrel.
Peach Climacteric – Weldwerks
This beer was just like biting into a fresh peach. Not too sour, just a hazy peach explosion in a glass. Quite possibly the best stonefruit beer I’ve tasted.
Great Blue Haired Aunt Sally – Lagunitas
This is the barrel-aged variant of Lagunitas’ Aunt Sally Sour Mash Ale. Stronger and heavier, it still maintains the signature hoppiness that Lagunitas is famous for, as well as sharp tang of the Lactobacillus. What takes this beer to the next level is the fruity, oaky character it picked up while aging on red wine barrels. The subtle grape/cherry flavors blend with the lacto and the finish is smooth. A definite upgrade to a solid base beer.
Sauvage – NOLA Brewing
I’m always on the lookout for interesting non-sour brett beers with a little something extra and this beer was a great find. The funky brett in this pale ale stands up well to a strong dry-hopping with Galaxy hops. The brett is almost completely lost in the hoppy nose when smelling, but the blend of oak-aged brett flavor and Galaxy aroma was a treat.
Mythic – Half Acre
A tart, refreshing saison that stood out to me among the non-frutied ligter selections at the festival. Light color, slightly hazy with a funky tang upfront and a smooth, woody finish. This would make a great picnic beer.