Craft beer brewing is a lovely art for those that come to appreciate and value both the process and the overall end result where intriguing flavors meet the palates, and cause an euphoric sensation that can be felt throughout the entire body. This effect, of course, doesn’t take many drinks when sipping on a well crafted brew as the flavors and unique characteristics alone produce this type of feeling. What better time and way to experience this feeling, except during a soothing summer vacation? Whether it be the roaring waves of the ocean, a brisk breeze of clarity in the mountains, or nestled up in a cabin upstate somewhere, quality beers are the answer to really complement your time away.
Not only is your laid back summer vacation the place and time, but the style and flavor to find should meet the quality standards of an ideal “time away from stress” get away. To meet these standards one must seek out and find enthralling brews that really help enhance the quality of the overall trip. And this, my friend, can only be accomplished by consuming deliciously crafted brews that have spent their fare share in the quiet constraints of wooden barrels, aging to perfection while producing unusual characters that awaken your senses to a world where stress is sure to be done away with. Here are 10 barrel aged beers to grab a hold of if you can.
- The Rare Barrel-The Upside Down Under: A new addition to the barrel aging specialty brewery located up in Berkeley, California. This pink attraction started off as a golden sour beer that was aged with dragon fruit and kiwi in oak barrels, giving it a nice grape-like character that follows with a slight puckering tart-acidity, helping you chill out and dream of buying the island you’ve always wanted while keeping you in perspective. Let go, but keep it somewhat real… ABV: ?
- Cascade Brewing Company-Sang Noir: If delving off into robust flavors of dark cherries bourbon is something you fancy then this Oregon brewery’s aged brew is ideal for you. Aged in bourbon and wine barrels for two years with Bing cherries consisting of a blend of imperial red ales to make for a dark hued beauty that provides beguiling flavors of dried dark cherries, port wine, molasses and toasted oak. Sip and savor yourself into the perfect vacation. ABV: 10%
- Fremont Brewing-The Rusty Nail: Hailing from the beautifully crafted city of Seattle is a dark-sided aged beer that would even cause Darth Vader to have a puzzled, and yet intrigued look on his face. This black beauty imperial stout is aged in bourbon barrels with licorice and cinnamon bark that imparts a slightly smoky character with balanced flavors of cocoa, licorice, and a smooth vanilla, bourbon finish that is as soothing as it is warming. Perfect for those cloudy Seattle days where warm is ideal. ABV: 14.5%
- Strange Craft Brewing Company-1000 Barrels Imperial IPA: Lessening on the color of the beer and focusing more towards the hoppier-side of things is this oak barrel aged imperial IPA. Stemming from the mile high city of Denver and packed full of hoppy bitterness with over 3 pounds of Simcoe, Amarillo, and Summit hops that impart a strong floral and citrus hop aroma with a nice subtle bitter finish that finishes off dry and a bit tangy. Grab a bottle and experience the mountain view like you never have before. ABV: 8.25%
- Vista Brewing Company-Commencement Brett Ale: Situated on a small farm in Austin, Texas is a small brewery providing finely crafted beers that help you enjoy the view in a flavorful way. This barrel-aged Brett ale is fermented and aged in red wine oak barrels for over two months yielding a dark fruit-like character with wine like characteristics and a slight smoky quality that finishes dry and fresh. Keep cool and take the edge off with this barrel-aged beauty. ABV: 7%
- Cigar City Brewing-Port Barrel-Aged Barleywine-Style Ale: Heading southeast to a popular summer spot in Tampa, Florida resides a port barrel-aged barleywine that is sure to keep you poppin’ while relaxed during your vaca. This bold dude is aged for months in port barrels, giving off flavors and aromas of plums, vanilla, dark chocolate with some notes of orange peel and wood-tannins that finishes semi-sweet with a nice bitter bite. Grab a bottle and sneak to the beach, just don’t pass out in the sun! ABV: 10%
- Goose Island Beer Company-Cooper Project No. 1: Situated up in the big city of Chicago is the ever famous Goose Island Brewery and their delicious Bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale, Cooper Project No. 1. An elegantly smooth barrel-aged beer that imparts flavors of caramel, bourbon, toffee, as well as smoky characters with hints of orange peel. A classy edition to your vacation in the big city as you let off steam while watching traffic go by. ABV: 8.7%
- Raleigh Brewing Company-Grape and Grain Wine Barrel-Aged Saison: Going back east to the coastal state of North Carolina is a delightfully crafted saison aged for several months in white wine oak barrels. Here you will find aromas and flavors of crushed white grapes and vanilla characters with some slight tangy citrus notes and smoky impressions. This is perfect for a hot, North Carolina summer day while peering at rows of hills and trees. ABV: 8.1%
- Brooklyn Brewery-Serpent: Heading up north to another big city where the fast life resides, and yet another vacation destination is Brooklyn Brewery with their enchanting Serpent, a Belgian-style golden ale that is aged on cider lees in bourbon barrels. This fascination concoction emits aromas and flavors of banana and clove with notes of caramel and toffee and wood and earthy characters that provides a slight tart-like quality at the finish. Get a bottle and head up state for a time of rest and reflection. ABV: 9.5%
- Anchorage Brewing Company-A Deal With The Devil: For those that wish to escape the heat for their vacation destination then Anchorage Brewing in Alaska is the stop to make with their sinfully, alluring A Deal With The Devil, a English-style barelywine that is aged 11 months in cognac barrels. No need to worry here as you are not actually making a deal with the devil, but the bite can be subtle at first while hitting hard after a few glasses worth. Imparting aromas and flavors of citrus and floral hops with notes of caramel and raisins finishing of warm with a smooth rum quality. Stand in awe at the gorgeous Alaskan landscape while sipping on this bad boy, you won’t be disappointed. ABV: 17%
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