Felons' Barrel Hall has birthed another foursome of delightfully presented barrel-aged beers – even the corks are branded – that variously feature funk, fruit and, in one case, a pretty fearsome ABV.
Getting itself very much on the front foot is Sun Drenched Fence, a Flanders red style ale aged in a mixture of chardonnay and American oak whiskey barrels for nigh on three years. If we're playing semantics, it pours more a ruddy deep amber than red, but there's no denying the force of its character. A prickly sweet acidity defines the texture, with the whiskey more apparent than the chardonnay and heaps of oak picked up by the liquid – so much so, it leans into almond territory. At its heart is something akin to a berry jus, leaving you with the equivalent of super rich dessert in a glass.
At 8 percent ABV, Sun Drenched Fence is hardly for the faint at heart, but it still pales compared to the beast that is Dark Distant Light: an 11.7 percent ABV imperial stout brewed with hops from three countries and eight malt varieties that spent 14 months in charred American oak and rye whiskey barrels from The Gospel distillery. Initial aromas were very much dominated by ripe bananas, but they soon fade away to be replaced by sweet whiskey notes, beckoning you into the softest and creamiest of pillowy stouts.
Considering the booze content, there's no heat to speak of, and while there's chocolate for days, with a little fruit 'n' nut vibe in its midst, it finishes dry but not bitter. I shared my bottle with some wine drinkers who would rarely venture beyond an Italian lager if offered beer and, lo and behold, they went back for more.
For completeness, the other two releases in this quartet are Nectarine Queen and Raspberry Funk. All available here.
Published November 3, 2023 2023-11-03 00:00:00