Over the past few years, craft breweries have gone all in on the barrel-aged beer craze. These (usually) limited-edition beers are more expensive and aren’t supposed to be cracked open and chugged as soon as you get home (that’s what light beer is for). They are painstakingly created to be aged and enjoyed at a future date. Many are rested in former bourbon or wine casks for months before they even reach a bottle. Whether you enjoy crisp, sour wine-barrel aged brews, or rich, chocolatey, whiskey-cask matured sippers, there’s a barrel-aged beer for you.
With so many breweries are trying their hand at barrel-aging, it’s easy for a newcomer to the style to feel overwhelmed. That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their favorite barrel-aged beers. This way, you won’t fork over $10, $20, or even $30 for a bottle only to realize it’s not for you.
Brooklyn Black Ops
View this post on Instagram
Trying a new beer by @brooklynbrewery #brooklynblackops. I bought this beer @hopsailisland to cook with and of course you have to taste it first (reason for small glass) umm well, it tastes too good and now the bottle is gone! #brooklyn #nyc #brooklynbeer #brooklynbrewery #craftbeer #beer #sorrynotsorry #stout #bourbonbarrel #beerus #beer🍻 #drinks #happyhour #beerbeerbeer #craftbeers #craftbeerlove #craftbeerlovers
Nikki McCutcheon beverage manager at Moxy Times Square in New York City
“I love our local Brooklyn Black Ops. They use Champagne yeast to second ferment the beer once it’s been bottled creating a really unique and delicious finished product. Plus, it’s really hard to get your hands on as they consider it one of the brewery’s ‘hidden gems’.”
Jason O’Bryan, spirits director at The Florence in San Diego
“I think all-time favorite has to be the Allagash Curieux. It’s a bourbon barrel-aged Belgian-style Tripel from Portland, Maine that just hits this perfect balance year after year. Always high alcohol but never too heavy. I’m not always in the mood for a 10%+ beer, but the Curieux is hard beer to say no to.”
Fremont Barrel-Aged Dark Star
View this post on Instagram
Fremont – Barrel Aged Dark Star and B-Bomb • Bourbon barrel aged imperial oatmeal stout and imperial winter ale … A match made in heaven 🤤 • @fremontbrewing #FremontBrewing #BarrelAgedDarkStar #BarrelAgedBBomb #ImperialOatmealStout #ImperialWinterAle #BBA #BourbonBarrelAged #BeerPorn #BeerOfTheDay #CraftBeer #InstaBeer #Whalez #WhalezBro #CraftBeerNotCrapBeer #NowDrinking #BeerLife #BeerLifestyle #BeerLover #DailyBeer
Andrew Holmes, director of food and beverage at Hotel LeVeque in Columbus
“Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star by Fremont Brewing; blend of oatmeal stouts aged between eight and 18 months in Kentucky bourbon barrels, which makes it rich with a roasted aroma.”