Image by Flickr user sheiladeeisme
This Tuesday at 5pm, the Charleston Beer Exchange posse will be putting Ballast Point Brewing's French Oak Syrah Barrel-Aged Three Sheets Barleywine (say that three times fast) on the growler station for Rare Beer Tuesday.
Ballast Point came home to San Diego from the World Beer Cup this weekend with three gold medals and the Small Brewery of the Year award. I've talked up their incredible Sculpin IPA (one of this year's golds) before. But this thing is an entirely different animal.
Barrel-aging, the process of storing an already great beer in a used barrel to impart new and hopefully complementary flavors, is nothing new in craft beer. Our friends over at COAST Brewing famously age some of their Blackbeerd Imperial Stout in bourbon barrels each year, to the delight of beer geeks all over the creation.
That said, bourbon barrels are normally the vehicle for aging. While not totally unheard of, wine barrels are much more rarely used. But if I have faith in any brewery to make something shockingly good, I have faith in Ballast Point. In any case, it doesn't get much more clever than aging barleywine in a wine barrel.
This puppy weighs in at 9% ABV, gets a B from BeerAdvocate, and doesn't have enough Ratebeer reviews for a score (since you scarcely see it outside of the brewery itself). It's rare as rare can be, so go get it while you can.
Charleston Beer Exchange can be stumbled upon at 14 Exchange Street downtown.