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Good Wood

The past decade has witnessed an explosion in the amount and variety of craft beer aged in wood, from hefty sours to bourbon-barrel beauties.

Jan 31, 2015 - 24 min read

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CB&B’s Jamie Bogner talks with some leading brewers to get their take on how barrel-aged craft beers are produced.

Lauren Salazar’s notebook is legendary—a run-of-the-mill composition pad with tasting and blending notes on New Belgium’s numerous wood-aged beers dating back to 2001. Some brewers use spreadsheets with color codes and extensive notes, but Salazar—chief blender and brand manager for New Belgium’s specialty beers—prefers pencils and her own shorthand with acronyms for beers in various states of readiness. And smiley faces.

But don’t let the simplicity of her organizational strategy deceive you—the wood-beer program she’s largely responsible for creating mixes equal parts art and science to achieve a sum greater than the individual components. And she’s one of thousands of brewers who have breathed new creative life into the U.S. craft beer market by exploring these time-honored yet creative brewing techniques.

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