Sunday, July 28, 2013

Oakshire Seminar at The Upper Lip

The new event space above and part of Bailey's Taproom, The Upper Lip, hosted Oakshire Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk for a seminar that was touted to pour Hellshire III, 2012 Very Ill Tempered Gnome, 12 Proof and Biere de Mars. We were treated to a walkthrough of not only those four beers but an additional four - Hellshire I and II, 6th Anniversary and Funk the Farmhouse - and the opportunity to buy three-bottle sets of Hellshire I, II and III.

For those who follow Oakshire's beer, you might recall that there was "an issue" with Hellshire II, which led Oakshire to do a voluntary recall. Matt described that the base beer, an imperial stout, "wasn't fantastic" before it went into the bourbon barrels. Attempting to improve the end product a variety of things were added including vanilla beans, oak spires and coffee. Somewhere along the way some lactobacillus made its way into at least some of the bottles, souring it and prompting the recall. While I agree something might be a bit "off" with this beer, I enjoy sours and found this to be my favorite of the eight beers we tasted.

Second runner up for me was their 6th Anniversary beer, a barleywine aged in brandy barrels. It had a trifecta of aroma, mouthfeel and flavor that made me wish they were selling bottles of this. Their 7th Anniversary beer will be released in October and "may" be a sour cherry Baltic porter. Or not.

Taking the bronze was their Funk the Farmhouse, a variation of the beer they made for NAOBF, Save the Farmhouse. Bottled only nine days ago it already has a beautiful sour aroma and light, tart flavor. It is a bit thin but there is definitely potential.

I've had very few of Oakshire's barrel-aged or specialty beers (I'm a sucker for O'Dark:30 and Overcast Espresso Stout) so even though I didn't love all of the beers we tasted it was a great experience. I'm always up for trying something new to me and getting to hear about what went into the creation of each beer from the brewmaster takes it to the next level. Thanks to Matt, Adam and Bailey's for a great seminar!

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