The barrel-aging scene in America, while delicious, can seem a bit repetitive at times. Bourbon barrel, Scotch barrel, Bourbon barrel; sometimes it feels like the technique is losing its mystique. That is why when I see a brewery releasing beer aged in different spirit barrels, it captivates my inner beer nerd. This week, Sapwood Cellars releases not one but TWO gin barrel-aged beers.
I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to Sapwood cofounder, Mike Tonsmeire. Besides literally writing the book on sour beers (check it out), he has been the long-time lone author behind the craft beer/brewing blog, The Mad Fermentationist. Without a doubt, Mike’s writing has helped guide me from being a young lite beer guzzler to the knowledgeable enthusiast I am today.
Anyways, back to the beer. The first release is Bestagon, a sour red ale aged in gin-barrels. It has a massive injection of thyme honey, which plays with the botanicals of the gin to give the beer a herbal spicy flavor with a touch of sweetness.
Their second release, Gindicators 3 (cue the ‘Rick and Morty’ theme song), is a pale gin-barrel aged sour. It is aged in McClinktok Distillery Gardener’s gin barrels and then gets a healthy addition of peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Juniper berries and stone fruit compliment the funkiness of the beer for a fantastic result.
Sapwood is always putting out something new and taking chances while doing it. Check them out at their brewery in Columbia, Maryland.