The latest creation from 10 Barrel Brewing Co., a beer called 16 barrels, is not actually a new beer. In fact, it is over one year old.
Intended to be a one-off, a version of this beer was made last year for a St. Valentine's Day dinner. But the maestros at 10 Barrel loved it so much they squirreled away gallons of it—16 wine barrels worth—for aging purposes. The resulting double golden ale is one of 10 Barrel's best efforts yet. The complex brew also signified a melding of two of Oregon's top wine and beer producers.
16 barrels was aged in pinot noir barrels from Lange Estate Winery, a small vineyard in Dundee, Ore. that Wine & Spirits magazine named "Winery of the Year" in 2012. And for its part, 10 Barrel has consistently raised the bar for itself, most notably with experimental brews like Beer Nog, featured at the inaugural Central Oregon Winter Beer Festival, and earlier in 2013, Suede Imperial Porter, a standout collaboration beer with San Diego's Stone Brewing.
Though difficult to pin down, 16 barrels is even better. There simply aren't many full-bodied golden ales out there. Subtly tart, woody and clean, 10 Barrel's 10% ABV version should be the new benchmark. Let's hope they make more of this exceptional beer.
Available in 22-ounce bottles for $12 at Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Safeway and select bottle shops.