Set your watches, mark your calendars, start counting the seconds, beer fans, because the Bailey’s one-year anniBREWsary is almost upon us. As readers of this blog know, the date’s been set: Saturday, August 2nd from 4 PM until midnight. Barrel-aged beers that are older than Bailey’s will be rolled out and tapped for your drinking pleasure, and so far the list of breweries on tap for this event is a veritable who’s who of Oregon brews: Cascade, Double Mountain, Firestone, Fort George, Full Sail, Hair of the Dog, Lucky Lab, Lompoc, Laurelwood, Mia & Pia’s, Rock Bottom, and Roots.
But here’s what you may not already know: for a measly $10, you’re going to get your first five 4 oz pours of these very rare, specialty beers PLUS your very own souvenir Bailey’s beer snifter to take home with you after you break it in that Saturday. Additional 4 oz pours are just $1 each.
While we’re not quite ready to give you the final list of beers we’re making available for this mega-event, we can tell you that it won’t just all be one style of beer. As has been our philosophy since day one, Bailey’s is all about the variety. Expect barleywines, imperial stouts, and IPAs for starters, but don’t be surprised if you stumble across a few styles you’ve never heard of before (including Belgians!) or haven’t had a chance to sit down with yet, especially in a barrel-aged condition.
For any of you scratching your heads over just what “barrel-aged” means, here’s a quick primer: breweries take their strongest beers and throw them in wooden barrels that previously held wine, bourbon, whisky, and all sorts of other delicious alcoholic drinks. They sit in there for awhile and then the beers are transferred to kegs, where they’re aged over the course of a couple years to a few years to many years. During that time, the beer picks up the flavors of the wood and the liquor from the previous step and seamlessly melds those diverse tastes with the malt, hops, and other beery ingredients. Flavors that were initially very strong become quieter and more subtle, fading just a little to let others emerge. In short, a really great aged beer offers an incredibly diverse range of flavors while maintaining a balance and promoting a remarkably smooth drinking experience.
Sounds good, right? Three-and-a-half weeks and counting…