If you've written about the craft beer industry for more than 30 seconds, you've likely written about a collaboration beer. They basically happen every other day. And they should, it's exactly the kind of thing that makes this industry so great -- people from different breweries coming together to create something new.
That's what makes this collaboration so fun, it's not two breweries, it's one brewery and a spirits company. Parce Rum, a client of ours and the makers of a bourbon barrel-aged sipping rum from Colombia that will change your life, sent some barrels to Pipeworks Brewing Company to see if they could do something cool with them.
Pipeworks brewed two beers, a full-bodied imperial stout with chocolate wheat, and a raspberry stout with oats, vanilla and cocoa nibs and added them to the rum barrels. When they're done, the batches will be blended together to create what they're calling "The Parce."
Mike Schallau, Master of Barrels at Pipeworks explains, “When you barrel age a beer, the barrel adds an interesting alcohol and wood character. You end up with some nice vanilla and coconut notes. It also brings out fruitier flavors, so it lifts the actual raspberry character out of the glass making it even more pronounced when you smell it."
I ask Mike what characteristics the Parce barrels have imparted to the beer that their typical bourbon or rye barrels don't. "There’s a little more subtlety to the rum,” he explains, "a nice sweetness and honey character a bourbon barrel doesn’t have. Overall you get a more subtle spirit character which lets the beer speak and lifts out that nice fruit characters."
The beer has to sleep in its woody sarcophagi for a bit longer but we're pretty pumped to see how it all turns out.