Further to Erik’s great post on cellaring beer and his creation of The Cellar page, I thought I should post about my philosophy on the beer cellar and what beers I am currently aging. Until very recently, my philosophy on cellaring has been to not cellar anything. I’ve realized recently that I was flawed in my thinking because aging can definitely enhance the flavors and take the edge off of a strong beer. What really helped me realize the greatness of aging beer was the Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine we recently enjoyed at Central City Brewing, which was fantastic. I had the opportunity to compare this barley wine, aged 18 months, to other younger barley wines, where the aged beer far surpassed the young beer in smoothness and in flavor.
I’ve learned the hard way that strong beer should be aged, having impatiently consumed a Fullers 2008 Vintage Ale, a Philips Burley Barley Wine, and a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron far too early. In fact, I’ve noticed the pattern that I always immediatly drink a strong beer worthy of aging, only to have Erik realize my folly and buy the same beer for his cellar. This works out well for both of us, Erik gets to taste the young beer I hasten to enjoy, and then I get to taste Erik’s aged bottle a year or so later. Look forward to some great reviews of aged beer in the coming year, complete with first hand insight on how the beer has matured with age.
As for my cellar, it is humbly located in a dark, tucked away corner of my garage where the temperature ranges from 10-20 degrees Celsius throughout the year. I may have to make other arrangements in the summer during heat waves. My cellar consists of very few beers at this point in time, but my stockpile will grow. The meager number of bottles in my cellar has to do with my lack of patience and the knowledge that Erik will probably share his aged goods with me.
My cellar currently contains:
The stock in my cellar will surely grow this year. That being said, old habits die hard. I have a Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller Barley Wine in the fridge right now, ready to be warmed up and consumed at a moments notice. When will I learn?
We’ll be updating our Cellar Page with new acquisitions as they arrive. Please check back with us for reviews of aged brews as we consume them. Also, we’d love to hear of other worthy candidates for our cellar if anybody has any recommendations.
It wasn’t too hard for the guy at Brewery Creek to sell me on a Palo Santo Marron, seeing as I had heard good things about Dogfish Head Brewery and I love a beer with a story. This brown ale gets its name, which literally translates to “Holy Tree Brown”, from the fact that it is aged in Paraguayan Palo Santo wood fermentation tanks, which at 10000 gallons happen to be the largest wooden brewing vessels used since prohibition, or so they claim. Check out this video showing how they make it.
I was surprised to see that the beer poured out jet black in colour. It was this, coupled with the high alcohol content (12%), that got me a bit scared, not that I wouldn’t like the beer, but that it would be too strong for me to finish! I hate wasting beer. The beer itself smells and tastes great, very flavorful. Rich caramel and vanilla malt flavors were present and I greatly enjoyed the taste the wood imparts on this brown ale. What I didn’t like about this beer was the strength. The alcohol content really comes through, that and the heaviness of this beer have me estimating that one 12 ounce bottle is potent enough to satisfy a team of hearty beer drinkers (4-6 people).
I don’t recommend this beer for the average beer drinker, but I do recommend that a serious beer drinker share this with fellow enthusiasts. It is quite the ride through flavor town, but one bottle it is too much for one. That being said, I can see this beer rounding out over time. I am pretty sure that this is another one I should have aged! One day I will learn.
I currently reside in the Fraser Valley and used to make most of my beer purchases at the BC Signature Liquor Store in Langley. But that was then and this is now; things have changed. I recently learned of Brewery Creek Liquor Store, which is conveniently located near my place of employment. Thank you CAMRA Vancouver newsletter for enlightening me.
Brewery Creek has the best beer selection I’ve seen in this province of ours. It was overwhelming walking in there. I wanted to buy one of everything, but managed to restrain myself. There was a great selection of west coast and belgian beers, a lot of stuff that I’d heard of but never seen in a store before. I ended up leaving with a Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve, a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, and a Phillips Burley Barley Wine. Visiting Brewery Creek will surely become a weekly lunch hour activity for me.
It seems that others love Brewery Creek as much as I do. It’s received glowing reviews on Beer Advocate. It also has it’s own Facebook Group. I have enjoyed the weekly Facebook message they send to tell members about new releases! The bottom line is, if you live in or around Vancouver and you love beer, then you have to visit Brewery Creek; you won’t be sorry.