Beer enthusiasts across the Houston area may have ducked out of work a little early Monday afternoon to line up for Bishop's Barrel 11, the latest in Saint Arnold Brewing Company's series of barrel-aged brews.
Based on the brewery's popular Endeavour IPA, Bishop's Barrel 11 is the first time the company has released a barrel-aged IPA, and, in another first, the company has sourced gin barrels from craft distillery Smooth Ambler Spirits. According to Saint Arnold, the gin's juniper notes compliment Endeavor's hop profile.
"Hoppy beers like Endeavour are typically best enjoyed fresh, so it was a bit of a tightrope to figure out the optimum time needed to infuse the base beer with the interesting mix of aromas and flavors from the gin barrels without muting its hop character," said Saint Arnold brewer Aaron Inkrott in a statement. "We finally decided to mix in about 20 percent fresh Endeavour to liven up the hops, which worked great."
Nicknamed "Gindeavour" and only released to bars and restaurants, expect the limited supply to be snapped up quickly. The Flying Saucer downtown began selling its supply at 11 am on Monday, and Hay Merchant released its bottles in two waves Monday afternoon. This handy spreadsheet is tracking release dates and times at almost 150 places that are likely to have some.
What to know what all the fuss is about? The brewery released the following tasting notes:
Saint Arnold Bishop's Barrel No. 11 pours a beautiful copper color with an off white head. The nose is a spicy mix of hops, wood, juniper and a hint of bourbon. The familiar Imperial IPA bitter is balanced with a nice malt backbone from pale two row and caramel malts. The Columbus, Simcoe and Centennial hops provide piney, resiny notes that balance with the juniper/gin character from the barrel aging.
Future Bishop's Barrel releases include: Old Ale with cherries aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels with brettanomyces, Belgian Quadruppel aged in bourbon barrels and Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels. Expect demand for those to be just as fervent.