Chicago brewery, Goose Island, has joined forces with Melbourne’s Boatrocker Brewing Company to craft the October Beer, a special barrel-aged ale.
A limited edition barrel-aged beer, the brew was born in May 2017 during Good Beer Week, when brewers from Boatrocker Brewing and Goose Island came together to celebrate the subtleties and flavours of the brewing technique.
“Sampling a boatload of interesting brews at Good Beer Week really got our creative juices flowing. The art of barrel-aging beer isn’t nearly as prevalent in Australia as it is in the rest of the world, and there is an entirely new spectrum of flavour created by the barrels that is yet to be explored. The Boatrocker October Beer injects Goose’s signature modern twist into this classic concoction,” says Bill Savage, lead brewer of Goose Island’s barrel-aging program.
“The limited release marks the first time we’ve collaborated with an Aussie brewer, and it’s an experience very close to our hearts. Our industry thrives on creativity, and international brewers coming together to think outside the box has produced some incredible beers. Working alongside Matt and the rest of the team at Boatrocker was a terrific experience.”
This type of beer dates back to 17th century England, when it was brewed and aged in barrels over the winter months in country estates, the pre-cursor to the barleywine style. Characterised by depth of flavour, the Boatrocker October Beer was brewed over winter and aged in Staward Whisky barrels.
In 1992, Greg Hall former head brewer and son of the founder of Goose Island, inspired by Kentucky’s bourbon masters, was the first to use American whisky barrels to age beer. This later developed into Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout.
“Barrel-aged beer is a signature part of Boatrocker’s identity. With barrel-ageing also entwined with the unique history of Goose Island, we couldn’t think of a better collaboration than the October Beer. Aged in Starward whisky barrels, the brew shows off with a deep golden colour, whisky notes on the aroma, a malty palate with slight plum and tannin from the barrels and an earthiness from the classic English hops East Kent Goldings. Dangerously drinkable at 9.4%, we suggest you drink this at cellar temperature like traditional British ales,” says Matt Houghton, Boatrocker founder and head brewer.
“Hints of vanilla, dried stone fruit and caramelised malt provide a well-integrated aroma that transitions effortlessly onto the palate. An assertive hoppy bitterness balances the rich and luscious puddling-like flavours that roll over the tongue and linger with a gentle warming sensation. Smooth, rich and robust yet not too overpowering or complex.”