Why Barrels?

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What’s with all those barrels in our taproom? Well to be honest, they’re all just for show. Just kidding! Our barrels don’t only look cool, they also make some mean beer. They’re traditional ageing vessels and are especially good for developing sour beer.

Belgian brewers have been making sour beer in oak barrels for a really long time. We draw inspiration from these chocolate and waffle loving European sour beer pioneers but put a modern spin on it all. We’re not after intense oak flavour, rather the barrels allow our wild yeast cultures a place to thrive and develop sourness and complex flavours. Our cultures end up sticking around in the oak and if the barrel is good it will continue to produce great sour beer time after time. Unfortunately, the same is true if a barrel produces bad beer; it will continue to produce bad beer and so instead we turn it into furniture. Once the wild yeast takes hold in a barrel, removing it is nearly impossible.

We choose previously used wine barrels over spirit barrels because of the more nuanced flavours the wine barrels provide. Sourcing these is tricky since they need to be fresh, ideally recently emptied of wine, or stored properly to prevent damage to the oak. Dried out old barrels won’t hold liquid and would impart bad flavours into our beer.

The oak we use is as important as any other ingredient that goes into the beer. Our barrels evolve over time and will be re-used so long as they keep producing great sour beer.