BAKER — Barrel aged beers bridge the gap between serious beer nerds and wine connoisseurs. When crafting barrel-aged beers, the base beer must be hearty enough to stand up to the wood. The brewery’s motto is “Expertly crafted. Aged when applicable.”
Barrel aging is a labor of love. I say this as a devoted spouse with a 55-gal barrel, filled with home brew aging in my basement. Barrels take space and attention to do right.
While not all the beers were on oak, the beers, in general, stood up quite well. The barrels at Banded Oak are Cabernet barrels from Napa Valley’s Rutherford region.
I visited with some friends on a chilly early fall night and enjoyed the in-between weather, sitting on the inside counter with the open bay doors facing South Broadway.
The space is modern, with wood accents throughout in homage to the mighty barrel. The location in Baker had me reminiscing about the old days when I rented an apartment at First Ave and Sherman St and drank cheap beer at the now-defunct 404 Lounge. Like the rest of the city, the neighborhood has changed dramatically, but the beers are a welcome addition.
I started with the Imperial Pils, (7.3% ABV). Imperial Pilsners are a characteristically tricky style because the yeast must be vigorous to convert all the sugars to alcohol. This pils had a bit of residual sweetness, but was very tasty, a good foray into Banded Oak’s offerings.
Next, I moved to the American IPA (6.8% ABV). The beer was nice and spicy and had a fresh green grass flavor.
The Marzen Oktoberfest (6.1% ABV) was stupendous. It arrived with a deep amber color. The flavor was creamy, mouth-coating, and caramel flavored.
The beers got darker and more serious from here.
The Atomga Brazilian Imperial Stout (9.5% ABV) was pretty hardcore. The dark profile of this one continued to build. A little bit smoky, the darkness of the malts carried the day here.
Belgian Strong (11.7% ABV) was sweet and deep and had some nice dried prune flavors. The beer hid the very strong alcohol content well. The Belgian Strong would make a great night cap on these chilly autumn evenings.
On to the barrel aged goodies! As I said before, the beer must be mighty to go into a barrel, lest it be overpowered by the oak. Banded Oak nailed it with the beers I tried.
Imperial Rye Saison Aged in Cab Barrels (10.3% ABV) was an oaky, spicy, unique beer. Rye adds a spice and texture to beer that transferred well to the cab barrels. Nothing was overbearing in this glass, despite the high ABV.
Scotch Ale Aged in Cab Barrels (8.2% ABV) The barrel shined in this beer. This beer had traditional scotch ale sweetness and malt, combined with a deep, wine musty wood flavor. Top notch.
I suggest a visit if you’re on South Broadway. One snap to Banded Oak for its on-tap kombucha, free for designated drivers. Two enthusiastic snaps for sharing the parking lot with the highly delicious Dae Gee Korean BBQ. Get a barrel-aged beer and some pork belly, and prepare to be wowed by the balance of fatty and rich.
Banded Oak Brewing Co | www.bandedoakbrewing.com
470 Broadway | Denver, CO 80203
5th Annual Chef & Brew
6–10 PM, November 17th | EXDO Event Center | 1339 35th Street
If you’re reading this, and it’s Thursday, November 17th… put the paper down and drive to the EXDO event center.
Chef and Brew take the stage for a night of exquisite beer and food pairing from top Denver chefs and brewers. Chef & Brew is a competition: thirty dishes, forty beers, an overwhelming palate experience. A portion of ticket sales will go to Denver’s Project Angel Heart, feeding Coloradoans with severe illness. Tickets are $ 55 but trust me; they’re worth it. Don’t miss this.
Cheese and Beer | Strange Brew Co |1330 Zuni Street
By November 28th, you’re going to want to forget about poultry. What better way to wipe the slate clean then to head to Strange Craft Beer, for a “Strange Cheese Incident”? The brewery pairs up with the Truffle Cheese Shop for a pairing that includes five different cheeses, with five different beers. Tickets are $ 25, and while this is a monthly event, it’s also a good way to usher in “slightly larger or stretchier pants season.”
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