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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Boston Beer Company: Barrel Room Series

The Boston Beer Company (aka Samuel Adams) is constantly coming up with new and interesting concepts.  I've enjoyed their Limited Released, one-off specialty beers, and the Brewmaster's Collection of beers for decades.  Many of these beers pushed the envelope for more than just the actual beer and used interesting bottling and marketing concepts.

The same is true for the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection of beers. The collection focuses on traditional Belgian-style beers, but with a unique Samuel Adams twist.  Traditional Belgium-style beers use wild yeasts and bacteria that create a signature spiciness and sourness.  Indeed, in some styles, Trappists Lambics for example, wild yeast is allowed to blow into the brewery from nearby fields.  This is not really practical for a full-scale brewery, so Samuel Adams creative staff developed a yeast/bacteria blend that achieves the Belgian-like flavors with more consistency and less time.  They call the mixture Kosmic Mother Funk and it is used in all of the Barrel Room beers.  These beers are also aged in oak barrels and come in totally unique bottles that are corked and caged.

My beer vendor had three of the four varieties.  The first was Stony Brook Red, which I would consider to be an imperial red ale.  It is low in bitterness (10 IBUs) and high in alcohol (9% ABV). Three yeasts are used in this beer, including champagne yeast for bottle conditioning.  The second was New World, a tripel brewed with both barley and wheat malts.  This beer is low in hops (17 IBU) and is 10% ABV.  The final beer was Thirteenth Hour, a stout brewed with 13 ingredients (hence the name), including 7 malts.  It is lacking in hops (17 IBU) and is 9% ABV.  The other beer in the collection, that I'm still searching for is called American Kriek.  This one sounds the most interesting of the group and is a traditional cherry lambic, made from Michigan Balaton cherries.  Oh, and Balaton is a registered trademark of Michigan State University. Cool!


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