The LCBO will spotlight a collection of four brand-new barrel-aged beers from Beau’s All Natural in select stores beginning this weekend, brewed by special request for an LCBO Spring Feature. The new limited-edition series from the Eastern Ontario craft brewery is available at 29 feature stores selected by the LCBO. Each of the four different beers in the collection is aged in wine or spirit barrels, and each is inspired by the art and mythology of ancient Mesopotamia.
The selections are: Gilgamesh, an 8.9% old ale aged in rum barrels; Siduri, an extra-strong saison beer spiced with white peppercorns and aged in red-grape icewine barrels; Sargon, a ginger beer that has been partially barrel aged in rum barrels; and Ashnan, a 9.8% wheat wine aged in chardonnay barrels.
Gilgamesh old ale has been aged in rum barrels while resting on its yeast in storage, which contributes to a full-bodied and malty character. Complex fruit esters reminiscent of figs and dates add to the richness and sweetness of this dark, strong wine-like ale. Gilgamesh, a legendary king of Mesopotamia, is the central character in The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving works of literature. Deliberately long-aged, the brew team took inspiration for Gilgamesh from several different versions of the robust, malty Old Ale style.
Siduri is an extra-strong saison beer that has been spiced with white peppercorns and aged in red-grape icewine barrels. The characteristic spiciness of the saison beer style is amped up with a judicious addition of organic white peppercorns to the recipe. Siduri’s complexity is delicately enhanced with an aging in red-grape ice wine barrels, as well as bottle conditioning. Siduri, a character in the ancient Mesopotamian work the Epic of Gilgamesh, is an “alewife” or sage female divinity associated with fermentation of beer and wine.
Sargon is a ginger beer that has been partially barrel aged in rum barrels. Sargon is the name of a legendary warrior-king whose dynasty controlled Mesopotamia for more than a century. This fun and flavourful twist on an English Ale is an interpretation of the classic rum-and-ginger beer combo called a “Dark & Stormy.” Organic ginger contributes the signature aromatics of this spice, along with a snappy heat. An aging in cognac/rum barrels adds the final touches to Sargon.
A bottle-conditioned wheat wine, Ashnan displays great depth of character and complexity. It features bold tannic notes that integrate very well with the tropical fruit flavours. Aging in white wine barrels contributes wood and wine character to the noticeable alcohol presence, and enhances a dry finish. A beer with a wine-imposed identity crisis, Ashnan sits comfortably between, offering the best qualities of both. Ashnan was the Mesopotamian goddess of grain, an apt symbol for this barrel-aged wheat wine.
The feature will continue through May or while supplies last. The hand-wrapped single-serve bottles retail for $9.85 apiece, and are also available direct from the brewery, or through BYBO, Ottawa’s home beer delivery service (www.bybo.ca). Complete tasting notes and technical specs for each Feature Beer, along with a list of the 29 LCBO stores that will carry the Beau’s Mesopotamian Feature Collection is available at www.beaus.ca.
The LCBO Spring Feature also coincides with another sign of spring, the return of Beau’s award-winning spring seasonal IPA Beaver River, available at LCBOs beginning this weekend. Wag the Wolf hopfenweisse, a Beau’s Wild Oats Series release for spring 2014, will also be available in LCBO stores beginning this month.