Like most whiskey aficionados, we also love a great beer. And in particular, we became very fond of barrel-aged beers, which from time to time had been aged in our whiskey barrels! So we decided to have some fun and make our own beer. We partnered with a great craft brewery (the Beltway Brewing Co. in Sterling, VA) and began working with their master brewer to create a flavor profile that would develop best in barrels that previously held our award winning James E. Pepper “1776” Rye Whiskey. The goal was to create a rich and flavorful barrel-aged beer, but also one that was a bit more drinkable than some of the heavier barrel-aged porters and stouts in the market – a barrel-aged beer that could be enjoyed year round and that pairs well with a glass of rye whiskey.
No more than 30 days after our whiskey barrels are dumped in Kentucky, they are at the brewery being filled with beer. This ensures that every batch gets a rich Rye whiskey finish and notes of toffee, chocolate, oak and vanilla. Barrels are not filled with water for 24-48 hours to seal them, as many brewers are forced to do with barrels that have been left to dry out for too long (an unfortunate process that also removes some of the great whiskey flavor left in barrels). Because we buy barrels from the cooper to age our whiskey, and then we monitor that maturation process over the years until we bottle our whiskey, we have complete control over the age and type of barrels we use. We think that is a big reason why this beer has come out with such uniquely rich flavor and taste. Cheers!