Craft beer is a wonderful thing. The ever-increasing variety of styles and flavors means there’s something for everyone out there, and this time of year is especially joyous for those of us who enjoy the wonderful character, flavors and aromas wood aging can impart to different craft beer styles. There’s just something magical that happens when you take already great craft beer and then give it wood and time.
To celebrate the diversity and complexity of the various wood aged beers out there, Brouwer’s Cafe holds an annual festival known as Big Wood, which features all wood aged beers. This year’s Big Wood festival, the 6th annual, is set to kickoff this Thursday, 12/5 when Brouwer’s opens their doors at 11:00 AM.
Since Brouwer’s first put on Big Wood back in 2007, it has been one of my favorite festivals of the year. You’ll find stouts, Belgians, sours and more, all wood aged; some on straight oak, others on used bourbon barrels, brandy barrels and more. Some of my favorite selections from Big Wood 2012 included:
- Mr. Kitty Blueberry Pale Ale (5.5%), aged in Dry Fly Whiskey barrels and served on nitro (Black Raven Brewery). This one was like a boozy blueberry muffin in a glass. Absolutely delicious.
- Oaked Darkstar (8%) with hazelnuts, peppercorns and served on nitro (Fremont Brewing). It was like drinking smoky, chocolate-covered hazelnuts. Amazing.
- Framboise De Amorosa (7%) (Lost Abbey Brewing). On the tart side, in just the right way. Lost Abbey does great work.
- Smoking Wood (13%) (The Bruery). Heavy with smoke and wood aromas and flavors, but not overpowering. A wood aged beer lovers dream.
You can also expect Brouwers’ food menu for Big Wood to be enhanced a bit with some special wood and smoke inspired selections. Last year, those selections included:
- Appetizer: House-Smoked and fried string cheese sticks with habanero-apple jelly
- Vegetarian: Smoked mushroom, bean and quinoa chili with house-smoked white cheddar cornbread & sauteed greens
- Big Wood Special: Smoked Pork shoulder, Alaskan Smoked Porter BBQ sauce, poblano cream cheese, baguette, citrus-cider slow
- Big Burger: House-ground Kobe beef, chopped bacon, smoked white cheddar, mushrooms, caramelized onions
I’m eager to see what this year’s special menu items will be. Be sure to bring your appetite. You won’t want to drink too many of these beers (many of which are rather high in alcohol) on an empty stomach.
If you aren’t able to attend Big Wood this Thursday the 5th, don’t worry. The festival will keep on going through the weekend. Don’t delay too long though, as word spreads fast and the most popular selections always disappear first. Brouwer’s Cafe has not yet release the full tap list for this year’s Big Wood festival, but be sure to check back here as I will update this post when the list becomes available.
For those of you planning on being there this Thursday for the kickoff, I’ll see you there.
UPDATE 12/4 – 5:30 PM: Brouwer’s Cafe has posted the full draft list. Here it is:
All beers are 12 oz unless otherwise noted:
- Alaskan Rough Trade Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter ’09 (6.5%) Anchorage
- Allagash Curieux #1409 (11%) Portland (6oz)
- Alameda Woody The Barn Owl Imperial Brown Ale Nitro (9.8%) Portland
- Almanac Barrel Noir (10%) San Francisco
- American Stupid Sexy Flanders (8%) Edmonds
- Anacortes Dubbel Bourbon Critters (7.5%) Anacortes
- Avery Samael’s Oak-Aged Ale ‘12 (16.9%) Boulder (6oz)
- Ballast Point Victory at Sea Rum Barrel-Aged Coffee Stout (10%) San Diego
- Ballast Point Barrel-Aged Sea Monster (10%) San Diego
- Big Al Jupiter’s Blood Sour (6.5%) White Center
- Big Sky Four Roses Barrel -Aged Old Bluehair(10.5%) Bozeman
- Big Time Sour Trombipulator Belgian Tripple (9%) Seattle
- Black Raven Cognac Barrel-Aged Birdbrain Barleywine (11%) Redmond
- Black Raven Gunsmoke Porter Nitro ( 7.8%) Redmond
- Bockor Cuvée Des Jacobins (5.5%) Bellegem (6oz)
- Boneyard Oak-Aged Suge Knight Imperial Stout (14%) Bend
- Boulevard Rye on Rye (12%) Kansas City
- Breakside Rye Barrel-Aged Fresh Hop IPA(6.5%) Portland
- Cascade Barrel-Aged Karma Citra Cide (8.9%) Portland (6oz)
- Cascade Sang Noir (9.5%) Portland (6oz)
- Cascade Vlad the ImpAler (10.6%) Portland (6oz)
- Deschutes Black Butte XXIV (11%) Bend
- Dogfish Head Burton Baton (10%) Milton
- Double Mountain Experiment #16 IRA (7%) Hood River
- Engine House #9 Syrah Aged Bramber (9.8%) Tacoma (6oz)
- Elysian Dry Fly Aged Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout (5.5%) Seattle
- Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist (11.8%) Salt Lake City (6oz)
- Finn River High West Rye Barrel-Aged Cider (6.7%) Chimacum
- Firestone Walker Hat Trick Sour (13%) Paso Robles (6oz)
- Flyers Oak-Aged Brouwer’s “8” 140 Schilling Ale (10%) Oak Harbor
- Fort George Roses on Roses (9.2%) Astoria
- Fremont Dry Fly Aged Vanilla Bourbon Abominable (11%) Seattle
- Fremont Brouwer’s “7” Old Bridgerider Barleywine (13%) Seattle
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti ’12 (9.5%) Denver
- Logsdon Cerasus Flanders Red (8.5%) Mount Hood (6oz)
- Lost Abbey Deliverance ’12 (12.5%) San Marcos
- Mad Viking Cognac Imperial Stout (11%) Denmark (6oz)
- Midnight Sun Berserker ’13 (12.7%) Anchorage (6oz)
- Midnight Sun/Black Raven Son of a BEAK (8.3%) Anchorage
- New Belgium La Folie ’13(6%) Fort Collins
- Naked City Big Jim Strong Sour Ale (10%) Seattle
- North Sound Sucellus Barrel-Aged Porter (9.5%) Mount Vernon
- Odin Oula Aged Thor’s Equinox (10%)Seattle
- Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy (10%) Longmont (6oz)
- Pelican Mother of All Storms ’13 (13.5%) Pacific City
- Pike Entire ’13 (9.5%) Seattle
- Rueben’s Brews Barrel-Aged Auld Heritage (10%) Seattle
- Schooner Exact Imp. Bourbon Bbl-Aged Profanity Porter (8.5%) Seattle
- Sound Brewery Monk’s G’Indescretion (Gin Barrel-Aged) Poulsbo
- Speakeasy Syndicate #1 (10.5%) San Francisco
- Stone Vertical Epic 09.09.09 in Red Wine Barrels (9.5%)Escondido
- Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 in Bourbon Barrels (9.5%) Escondido
- Struise Black Damnation Blackberry Albert (13%) (6oz)
- Surly Misanthrope (7%) Minneapolis (subject to arrival)
- Surly Pentagram (6.66%) Minneapolis (subject to arrival)
- Trois Dames Grande Dame Oud Bruin (7%) St. Croix (6oz)
- The Bruery Bottleworks XII ’13 (8%) Placentia (6oz)
- Uncommon Oaked Baltic Porter (8%) Santa Cruz
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.