Ugly Sweaters & Barrel Aged Beer
Parry’s Pizza’s annual winter event centered around big, tasty craft beer
Ugly Sweaters & Barrel Aged Beer always seems to get people out of their cozy homes to enjoy some amazing company and craft beer that has been barrel aged to perfection. Every year since starting this event, we’ve seen it grow beyond belief. The memories. The sweaters. (Oh, the sweaters.) That barrel aged beer. All of these elements that make this event what it is today can be expected this year, too.
In lieu of tap lists (because it’s too early just yet for tap lists) and boasting because we have access to these crazy barrel aged beers, we’d like to get into the epicenter of this event: the beer and the processes that make it what it is and elicits that smile on your cold, weather-beaten face.
The good folks over at Thrillist composed a great article ranking some of the more exquisite barrel aged craft beer in America.
We begin with “the art of barrel-aging is a centuries-old practice that adds to the beer within crazy flavor notes from the wood itself and the booze it once contained. It’s an art for the patient, sure, but barrel-aging can take an already-great stout, porter, or ale and turn it into something complex, robust, and magnificent. These days, many craft breweries dip their toes into barrel-aging, but the ones contained herein have more or less mastered the process, with programs that churn out coveted bottles that just get better with age. These aren’t just the best barrel-aged beers in the country (though those are here too)… they’re the best all-around barrel-aging operations on the scene.”
Great lengths have been traveled to procure this list of barrel aging operations around the country and the products that arise from the madness.
“When we named Avery the best brewery in the great state of Colorado, we knew we had to back it up. We could have done that with the great sours, or infinitely satisfying IPA. But the barrel-aging program here is, quite frankly, staggering, and it gets us really amped up. Or maybe we’re amped because our favorite beer, Tweak, is loaded with coffee and packs a nearly 18% punch that somehow gets hidden in all the flavor from the bourbon barrels. Then there’s the spankin’-new Xolotl, which takes a cue from the also-great vanilla bean stout and spikes the sweetness with chilies, cacao nibs, and a big ol’ dose of oaky whiskey. These cats are approaching the barrel-aging process as a playground, with new beers (well, months-old beers, but they’re new to us) hitting bottles and taps in limited quantity all the time, with huge-ass stouts, ales, Belgians, and more offering up more than a big-ass ABV. But they have that too. It’s great.”
On to another of our favorite craft breweries in America, Firestone Walker gets a nod for the one and only, Sucaba:
“Sucaba bourbon barrel-aged barleywine
With a longstanding commitment to the craft, Firestone Walker is widely considered to be one of the godfathers of American barrel-aging. What began as a pet project 20 years before has since exploded into a massive barrel-works facility housing over 1,500 constantly full barrels and, judging from the California brewery’s January 2016 Sucaba release, the old dog’s still got it. This bourbon barrel-aged barleywine lives up to its style’s boozy reputation without sacrificing an ounce of roasty, chocolaty, cherry-tinged complexity. The oak imparts a velvety mouthfeel, softening any residual bitterness — which, at 13.4% ABV, makes this bad boy dangerously drinkable.”
And finally, Boulevard Brewing gets a mention with one of our favorite offerings for this event. (Sure hoping we can secure a few sixtels of this beast.):
“Rye-on-Rye rye beer aged in Templeton rye barrels
Since expanding production 10 years ago, Kansas City’s Boulevard has added some killer barrel-aged beers to its fleet, but it truly upped the ante when it released Rye-on-Rye, a generously hopped rye ale mellowed to a T in Templeton rye whiskey casks. It’s like spicy and sweet went to war on your palate, each battling for total domination until charred oak stormed onto the scene, convincing the flavor warriors to join forces for a better tomorrow. All hail big oaky.”
We are looking forward to this event with as much gusto and anticipation as every Ugly Sweater party we’ve thrown in the past. Remember, though: No ugly sweater? No barrel aged beer. No excuses!
All Ugly Sweater Parties at Parry’s Pizza:
Friday, December 8th, 6pm
Castle Rock, Longmont, Greenwood Village
Friday, December 15th, 6pm
Highlands Ranch, Northglenn, Johnstown