Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Barrel Aged Week 2012 Day 3 (Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN)

Twisted Jim night was much busier than the previous two nights
For the sake of posterity and for those still considering a trip to Town Hall for Barrel Aged Week, here's the list of what's on tap this week:  

Mon Feb 20- Buffalo Bock- Weizenbock aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrel
Tues Feb 21- Wee Jack- Scottish style Wee heavy aged in JD Tennessee Whiskey Barrel
Wed Feb 22- Twisted Jim- American Barley Wine aged in Jim Beam Bourbon Barrel
Thurs Feb 23- Tumaltuous Rare- Wheat Wine aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Barrel
Fri Feb 24- Barrel Monkey- Double IPA aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrel
Sat Feb 25- Czar Jack- Everyone’s favorite barrel Aged Imperial Stout

For those familiar with Town Hall beers, it clearly looks like a champions pyramid that builds to the pinnacle Czar Jack, but the penultimate Barrel Monkey should bring in the hop heads on a Friday night.  For me as a wheat wine lover, I am very much looking forward to the Tumaltuous Rare on Thursday.  

Which begs the question, why go out for these beers. Last night when buying my draft of Wee Jack, someone at the bar who's presence at THB was unrelated to the barrel aged releases asked for a sample of Wee Jack.  The response (understandably) was that it's too rare and limited to give samples; subtext: buy a draft or miss out.  For me, it's the fun of drinking a beer that will exist briefly on this earth, never (or rarely in the case of Czar Jack) to be tasted again.  Adding it to the beer database, it becomes a rare jewel that, once gone, cannot be replaced.  Breweries or brewpubs that have gone out of business also fall into this category for me.  Like most, I have my favorites. However, drinking one offs is truly beer hunting as its best.  

On to tonight's barrel aged beauty: Twisted Jim aged in a Jim Beam Bourbon barrel.  Off white head completely disappeared immediately and forever.  Neither draft maintained a head.  Burnished copper mixed with gold in the light (much prettier than my picture) that swirls in the light.  Nose isn't heavy, but expansive malt, dark fruit, fig, and an earth hoppiness that's fueled by potent fusel alcohols.  Hope bite is more than expected on the tongue.  Sweet, oily taste full malt full of caramel and toffee with more apparent alcohol.  Jim Beam and wood is well blended, but floating above the beer a bit.  From my recollection of Twisted Jim straight (two years ago according to the database), I like this version better.  More complex and a great sipper seated in a high back chair by the fire.  

Wee heavy was still available tonight, but I would be hesitant whether any of the first three will be available tomorrow with all of the people there tonight.  At 6:30 pm when I showed up, the entire front bar was full and a 20 minute wait for the back restaurant.  Either Wednesday night is date night or barleywine pulls in a big crowd.  

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