Five Brewers Share Their Favorite Wood Aged Beers | Craft Beer & Brewing

Five Brewers Share Their Favorite Wood Aged Beers

There’s a lot of beer in a lot of wood these days. How do you know what rises above the masses? Ask a brewer. We asked a few of our favorite brewers and brewing professionals to share their recommendations on wood-aged beers.

John Holl 5 months ago

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Traquair Jacobite Ale

Todd Hough, Brewer/Founder at Sheriff Henry Plummer’s Outlaw Brewing in Bozeman, Montana
“Traquair Jacobite Ale from Scotland’s Traquair House Brewery is a more traditional take on a barrel-aged beer. It’s a traditional Scotch ale with great oak flavor and a hint of the coriander with which they spice it. It reminds me that although brewing has changed a lot in the past few decades, there is still amazing beer that has been brewed the same way for centuries. I think that is something we all need to be reminded of.”

Kane Brewing 2190 Anniversary Ale

Kevin Wagner, Assistant Brewer at Icarus Brewing in Lakewood, New Jersey
“Wood aging beer allows the brewer to add depth, character, and intricacies to the beer. In a way, it’s similar to how an author develops a character through the chapters of a book. Occasionally, we (the brewer and the beer consumer alike) get a beer that is a living image of a masterstroke novel series. Kane Brewing Company’s Anniversary Ale 2190 (Ocean Township, New Jersey) is a rye barrel–aged Belgian-style quadrupel that is blended with previous Anniversary Ale releases. The resulting cuvée is nothing short of a mosaic of the personality traits of the beers and barrels.”

Allagash Farm to Face

Eric Shoemaker, Brewer and Owner at Liquid Shoes Brewing in Corning, New York
“Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine) has been and is making some of the best, if not the best, barrel-aged sours around. Their Farm to Face comes to mind because this beer is a perfect rendition of a fruited barrel-aged sour beer. With tons of peach and a pleasant acidity on the nose and palate, it’s tart, not puckering, and very refreshing!”

Cigar City Brewing Humidor IPA

Dustin Craft, Craft Sales Manager for Malteurop North America Inc. in Boulder, Colorado
“Often, wood aging accents those parts of a beer that we’re already familiar with or adds new notes to let us enjoy the greater depth, complexity, and softer edges of a beer that has spent time in wood. The Humidor Series from Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida), places the wood front and center, completely transforming the character of a beer and creating something that is, to my palate, completely new and unexpected. In the specific case of Humidor IPA, Cigar City’s Jai Alai, an already great IPA, becomes an intoxicatingly perfumed brew with rich notes of floral pepper and the musk of Spanish cedar, which intertwine with the classic hops profile to create a unique and incredibly interesting sensory experience.”

Brewery Ommegang Barrel-Aged Three Philosophers

Ben Roesch, Founder and Brewmaster at Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, Massachusetts
“Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York, consistently puts out my favorite barrel-aged beers. Getting the balance of beer, booze, and barrel right is no easy task. But by picking the biggest and maltiest of their offerings, they achieve the mythical 1+1=3 scenario. Try Barrel-Aged Three Philosophers to experience what I mean. The aromas of oak and vanilla and flavors of dried fruit, caramel, vanilla, and molasses are even more complex than in the original Three Philosophers.”

John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.