Lervig have been keeping secrets. Apparently they have been working on a barrel aging project since day one and are only now telling us about it! I was surprised and delighted to get an email from Davide Callegari, their Barrel Manager, who said they wanted to send me some samples to try. The program is called Rackhouse. And according to their letter it has grown from ‘a few barrels sitting in the dank basement’ to ‘an 800 square metre area with 600 barrels, foeders, brite tanks and a bottling line where wood and it’s influence on beer is the focus.’ Sounds pretty impressive to me!
I opened Blue Plate Special first. The brewer tells us about growing up in ’80s America and enjoying the Blue Plate Special in the diners. Pancakes with maple syrup, bacon and coffee. He has managed to conjure up the wonderful smell and taste of that classic meal with this Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout. It’s rich, sweet, sticky and has a treacle like viscosity. Special indeed.
Naturally lunch follows breakfast so after a water break I got stuck into Canadian Lunch. This one has cocoa nibs, peanut flour and maple syrup added to the Imperial Stout which spent 12 months in bourbon barrels. I think the peanut oil may have affected the ability to form any kind of head here but, no matter, I’m a fan of the resulting flavour. It’s a little like the Reese’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. So that’s your Halloween candy pairing sorted!
Off The Rack No. 1 spent 11 months in Tennessee whiskey barrels. They left this one ‘unmolested’, so there are no adjuncts present. But there is still plenty going on with beautiful vanilla and coconut flavours combining to produce a delicious fudge like Imperial Stout. In hindsight I probably should have had it first! This trio all clocks in around the 14% mark and there’s eating and drinking in them so you should definitely share with a friend. I asked Lervig’s Irish distributor Four Corners if they’d be getting these beers and they said they would ‘possibly be getting a very small amount’ so if you do see them, don’t waste any time, snap them up. Many thanks to Davide and Lervig for this package. And kudos on the cool glassware too. Sláinte!