I’ve noticed an interesting trend in craft brews lately. In addition to strong IPAs, there has been a recent surge in the people getting into aging beers, and doing more than just brewing and consuming. Specifically, many breweries are experimenting with aging some of their brews. A local bar near me actually ages them in their basement and brings them out on tap every once and a while – you never quite know what rare aged delight will show up.
Other breweries are aging their own brews in oak barrels – similar to the process used to make whiskey. The oak barrels (or charred barrels) lend their own flavor to any brew – usually a sweet or smoky taste that makes whiskey so distinct. This year I’ve sampled a bunch of oaked offerings – from Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (distinct and sweet) to Anheuiser Busch’s Winter Burbon Cask Ale (waaay too sweet). So, when I saw that Dogfish Head brewery was offering an oaked brew… I HAD to try it.
Burton Baton, as it is called, is not only a Dogfish brew aged in oak barrels, no. It is a blend of oak-aged English strong ale and their awesome 90 Minute I.P.A – A dangerous combination! Specifically, half of the beer is an aged English ale which is aged with oak pieces in the tanks, then 90 minute is added to it 50/50. The bastard-nature of this beer is not lost on the brewers, who’ve put a cowboy on the label drawn by an English punk rock singer.
I am so impressed with this beer that I am almost speechless. I am in love with this beer. The taste is absolutely perfectly balanced. It has the sweetness that the 90 minute and the oak brings to it, without being headache-inducing. The finish is so smooth that it just fades out like a great rock anthem while the crowd is still cheering. It has just a little bite from the 90 minute leftover, it’s creamy and has little carbonation… perfect. Just perfect.
This is now, unfortunately, my new favorite beer. The brewery only made 40 cases worth of this. I am going down to get more as soon as humanly possible. I now completely understand the warning on the label : “Please share it with loved ones and hoard it from the non believers”
If you see this, get it, if you are offered it, drink it, if you want some, come to New England, I hear that’s where most of them are…. good luck 🙂