How About a Barrel-Aged Whisky Sour Beer?

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Yardley Brothers launches a Bourbon Marmalade Wheat Sour, the first of its new BUGS barrel-aged beer series.

Ah, the timeless art of barrel aging. Barrels hued from oak have been used in the aging of spirits and wines since the Iron Age, with the wood imparting on the liquid an amazing array of complex flavours and colours. A little less common today but no less historic is barrel-aging beer.

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Most often associated with the Lambic beers of Belgium, which has been barrel-aging its brews since the 13th century, today barrels that were once used for the likes of scotch, bourbon and wine are given a second lease on life to give craft beers an additional complexity. And the best news is, you won’t have to go to Kentucky or Belgium to try one of the best.

Yardley Brothers, those ever-so-innovative Hong Kong craft brewers, have released the Bourbon Marmalade Wheat Sour, the first brew of a new series called BUGS! thanks to the use of souring bacteria – such as Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Brettanomyces – in its production.

Yardley Brothers sees BUGS!, the first brew of its new barrel-aging program hit shelves and bar tops across Hong Kong.
Gaz Jones Photography

As part of the brewery’s continuous journey of experimentation and discovery, the new beer marks the fruits of Yardley Brothers’ new barrel-aging programme (the city’s largest), one that taps into the flavour-inducing qualities of 65 barrels from around the world – from French chardonnay to Canadian maple syrup and everything in between – and which is expected to bring many imbibing innovations to the fore.

“The barrel-aging program is a passion project of mine and the next evolution of Yardley Brothers since our humble beginning in 2016,” says Yardley Brothers co-founder Luke Yardley. “Our creative team has had a lot of fun with BUGS!, an idea we had to craft a series of specialty beers while also telling the story of the various wild yeasts and bacteria (bugs) used in the souring process to achieve the best, most exciting beer possible. It is a great tasting beer and somewhat of a conversation starter.”  

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Aged for eight months in ex-Jim Beam casks, the new Bourbon Marmalade Wheat Sour weighs in at 7%ABV and offers a wonderfully complex take on a classic wheat sour, one that’s packed with oaky goodness and which is reminiscent of the classic whisky sour cocktail thanks to the addition of citrus peel to the barrel. Limited to just 1,000 bottles (as all good things are), each of which features a new bottle design and striking bug label by Kyle Christensen, this new 2020 vintage can be found at GurBeer, CAVE Beer Point, The Globe (on keg!), HK Brewcraft, MoonLife, and other spots where good beer is loved like a firstborn child.

Yardley Brothers sees BUGS!, the first brew of its new barrel-aging program hit shelves and bar tops across Hong Kong.
Gaz Jones Photography

If you want to take your beer journey to the next level, don’t miss out on Yardley Brothers’ brewery tours (reservations only), held on the last Friday of each month, during which you’ll explore the production facility and taste your way through the brewery’s stunning array of craft beers.

Sounds like a pretty great way to kick off a weekend with the lads.

For more Wines & Spirits inspiration click here.

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About Author

Nick Walton is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist and Group Managing Editor for Artemis Communications, producers of Alpha Men Asia, JETSETTER Magazine, Explorer Magazine, The Art of Business Travel, Mirandus, IKHLAS, The Journal and The Edition.

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