Though at it’s base, beer is just four main ingredients, it’s often the unique, creative and sometimes even oddball flavors that make many craft beers stand out. Seasonal fruit beers like Pumpkin Ales are sending craft beer profits through the roof. But you can tap into a fresh crop of the latest Ag product to infuse your craft beer with a stand-out taste. Take No-Li Brewhouse, for example. The brewery’s latest Barrel Aged Series beer – Van Lambert Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry Ale – features 900 pounds of cherries (500 pounds of which were hand-picked by the No-Li team) from Bodacious Berries in Green Bluff, Wash., just 15 miles north of the No-Li brewery.
Starting in a sour kettle, lactobacillus, Mosaic and El Dorado hops create a vibrant base that covers the spectrum of fruitiness. Sweet and tart cherry flavors mingle with the alcohol as it ages for three months in Townsend Cellars wine barrels to provide a champagne-like essence. The French and American wine barrels add a tannin-like structure to the beer with an oaky finish.
This is just another entry into No-Li’s barrel-aged program, which currently holds more than 50 barrels from local distillery and neighbor, Dry Fly, and local winery Townsend Cellars. The brewery plans to add another 50 barrels or more over the next year and will continue to grow its barrel-aging program with more 22 oz-bottle limited releases.