The barrels sat in the cooler all year long while the beer inside soaked in oak.
Boulder Beer's brewers exhibited a great deal of patience while they waited to sample the finished product, but "shipping dude" Steve Dunn just wanted the eight barrels out of his way.
Bad news for the shipping dude, as Boulder Beer plans to repeat the barrel-aging project — the brewery's first to be packaged in bottles — again for next year. At least they named the beer after him.
The Dude's Bane is a malt-forward, English-style Barleywine aged for one year in first-use bourbon barrels. Just 2,100 hand-numbered 22-ounce bottles were released, and the beer is available exclusively at the brewery for $17 a bottle.
The beer's big, boozy nose is resplendent with bourbon, vanilla, oak and dried apricot, with lots of bourbon and woody flavors running through the intense malt base and spiked with notes of nutty toffee.
The aging helped round out the edges of the base beer, while also imparting a sherry-like quality that, along with the bourbon and oak, really ties together the beer's flavor profile.
Upslope delivers Christmas early
Much like the Christmas creep, where marketers and retailers deck the halls a little earlier each season, beer makers are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to producing and distributing their seasonal beers. This is a good thing.
You'll find four-pack tallboys of Upslope's Christmas Ale adorning liquor shelves with its festive red packaging, as well as at both Upslope taproom locations. Brewed with "holiday spices" and fermented using abbey ale yeast, this year's batch is closer in spirit to a Belgian-style Dubbel, with sweet malts and caramel in the nose and a fruity, malt-forward flavor balanced by clove and spice flavors.
Upslope also recently released its first variety 12-pack, which is available only in Colorado. The Upslope Mix Box includes two cans each of the brewery's Pale Ale, India Pale Ale and Brown Ale, as well as three cans each of Craft Lager and an offseason Limited Release, which currently is the brewery's Belgian Style Pale Ale.
"Including three cans of our offseason Limited Releases gives people something special to look forward to that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get," founder Matt Cutter said in a press release. "This new package is ... like bringing our tap room home with you."
Get hopping, homebrewers
Earlier this month, Twisted Pine Brewing Co. announced its new "Hopularity Contest" in which homebrewers are invited to submit beers that are "expressive with hops" in some way. One winner will have the opportunity to brew his or her winning recipe at production scale alongside Twisted Pine brewers.
Registration is limited to two beers per brewer, with two 12-ounce bottles required per entry. The only style guidelines are that the beer should showcase hops in some way. Entries must be submitted at the Twisted Pine Ale House by Dec. 31, and Twisted Pine's brewers will serve as judges. The winner will be announced Jan. 11 during a special event at the brewery. Visit twistedpinebrewing.com for more details.
Stout Month is just a few turns of the calendar pages away, and Mountain Sun is gearing up with its annual homebrew contest. Local homebrewers should deliver the equivalent of three, 12-ounce bottles of their original and inventive homebrewed stouts between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Jan. 4 at the Southern Sun Pub in Boulder or the Vine Street Pub in Denver for entry.
The winning brewer will have the opportunity to brew a six-barrel batch of his or her beer alongside Mountain Sun brewers, which will be served as part of this year's Stout Month lineup. The winner will also receive a $50 Stout Month bar tab. Visit mountainsunpub.com for complete details and entry forms.
Contact Tom Wilmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.