It’s a big week for barrel-aged beers in Austin. Three state breweries are releasing their versions of these beasts in bars and stores around town, and they’re all limited and hard to find and at 10 percent ABV or higher. Happy hunting.
Ranger Creek’s Texas Bourbon Barrel series
As both a brewery and a distillery — the only enterprise of its kind in Texas — Ranger Creek in San Antonio has some pretty special opportunities to combine its two operations: namely, to age its beers in its own whiskey barrels. That’s what the owners have decided to do with the new Texas Bourbon Barrel series, which is debuting the first beer on a very limited run Tuesday (San Antonio’s getting 1,400 bottles, so Austin’s allocation is likely less than that).
This first release is a 10 percent ABV Imperial Brown Ale that is helping to achieve Ranger Creek’s desire to “highlight the unique and fascinating relationship between beer and whiskey through interesting products,” according to a blog post from the “brewstillery.”
It’s a “big, sweet ale that boasts loads of caramel and toffee notes balanced with roasted malts and a rich creaminess,” and it will come in 22 oz. bombers, the post said.
Although the ultimate goal is to age the beers in this series entirely in Ranger Creek barrels, the brown ale primarily spent time in Four Roses bourbon barrels, followed by Ranger Creek’s own Rimfire and .44 Rye barrels. Expect the other brews in this series to be different styles and in different packaging.
Adelbert’s Tripel Treat
The second beer in Adelbert’s collaboration series with the local Treaty Oak Distilling Co. is a rum barrel-aged delight — essentially, a bigger, boozier version of the brewery’s Tripel B.
Launching this week, Tripel Treat was aged in Treaty Oak’s Barrel Reserve Rum barrels, and according to a press release, the time in rum barrels gave the 11. 7 percent ABV beer “an exquisite balance of warming rum notes, soft coconut and smooth oak, with a surprisingly fruity nose.”
The first beer in the Treaty Oak barrel series, Contemplating Waterloo, went into gin barrels. Adelbert’s founder Scott Hovey said in the press release that he purposely decided to steer away from bourbon barrel-aging with Treaty Oak “to make new and innovative combinations of barrel aged beers… The rum barrels really made the vanilla notes pop in ways that other barrels don’t. This beer has a complexity you’ll want to explore.”
With only 110 cases of the Tripel Treat available for Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, the brewery will be posting on social media a list of accounts receiving Tripel Treat as it is delivered to each city.
But if you aren’t able to get your hands on a bottle, don’t worry: Adelbert’s hopes to release future batches of Tripel Treat.
Karbach’s Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter
The Houston brewery’s latest BBH, as it’s commonly called, has already started appearing in local bars this weekend, such as the Brew & Brew and the Flying Saucer, and you’ll want to order some before it’s gone.
Rich and malty, with a bourbon nose and a charred cocoa heart, BBH, an American-style porter, was originally part of Karbach’s F.U.N series, its barrel-aging program, but became a series of its own when brewers decided they wanted to release it several times a year, rather than just once or twice. Each version of the 11 percent ABV beer is aged for a minimum of 5 months in bourbon barrels.
For more information about BBH, visit Karbach’s website.