Newsletter: Barrels and Bacon and Beer… oh my!

Barrel aged beers, mmm tasty!

Bacon… Beer… Music… what more could you ask for?! This Saturday (9/12), we’ll be at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis for the Bacon and Beer Classic. As attendees walk through the stadium they will get a taste of history through the hundreds of craft brew samples and mouth-watering bacon-inspired tastes local restaurants cook up. Music will get people dancing and interactive games will bring out their inner kid!

Ask the Brewer

I always thought fresh beer was best, why would I want to drink aged beer?

While getting fresh beer is important, certain beers actually age quite well and can be barrel, cask, or bottle aged to enhance their flavors. Fresh beer matters because certain flavors fade or degrade over time. According to the Beer Advocate website, hop flavors in lower alcohol beers (i.e., Pale Ales, IPAs and Black Ales) are typically better fresh. Also, coffee flavors can diminish quickly, so many coffee beers are better when enjoyed fresh.

The primary advantage of aging is that it lets alcohol or “boozy” notes mellow out over time. High ABV beers such as Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines, Old Ales and some Belgian Ales are usually good choices for aging. As a general rule, if a beer has an ABV higher than 10%, it is potentially a good candidate for aging.  If you are interested in cellaring your own beer, you can pick up several bottles, trying one early on and seeing what you think, setting aside the others to drink over time and taking notes to track your impressions.

Craft breweries barrel and cask age beers to create certain flavors in their brews. This aging can bring in aromas and flavors present in the wood itself or from the beverage that was previously in the barrel (think bourbon or whiskey). Oak, for example, can impart floral and coconut from the lactones present in the wood, as well as vanilla from phenolic aldehydes and caramel from the simple sugars. If the barrel held whiskey or bourbon, those notes may also be imparted to the beer.

The world of beer encompasses so many flavors and styles, all we can recommend is that you try what peaks your curiosity, giving both fresh beers and aged beers equal opportunity to please your palate.

Taproom Tidings

The taproom has its regular hours all weekend, with growler fills available all of the days we are open. Highlights include:

  • Thirsty Thursdays is your chance for $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (Remember, St. Paul doesn’t let us fill growlers after 8pm on Thursdays, so get here early)
  • Food on Fridays (FoF) brings us Rusty Taco, here to fulfill all of your Taco needs!
  • Our featured cupcake from Groundswell is their Espresso Turtle. Chocolate espresso cake with chocolate mousse, whipped cream, toasted pecans and an espresso caramel sauce.
  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey, Parched Lime Shandy and our ever popular Blackstrap IPA. Growler and grumbler fills on everything.

Final Thoughts

Next Thursday, September 17th from 5:30 – 8:00pm, we will be part taking part in the 3rd Annual Sweet Taste of St. Paul at The Great Hall in downtown St. Paul. This event provides a great opportunity to get out and support your local community through the Y’s mission to provide strong youth development within our communities. So grab a date and make some memories in their photo booth, try your luck with one of the many raffles, and dance the night away with the River City Jazz Orchestra!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook, Invocations, Twitter or Google+.