While working on our second book, Make Some Beer: Small-Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg, we had the opportunity to meet and work with craft breweries across the country. Odell Brewing Company graciously opened the doors for us to their tasting room in Fort Collins, Colorado. We shared drinks with Brendan McGiveny (Head of Production) and Doug Odell (the original co-founder) who inspired our Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Stout recipe. Founded by Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell in 1989, Odell Brewing Company was one of the first microbreweries to open in Colorado. In what started as an after-hours side project, the brewery has developed a full-fledged barrel aging program. From Belgian ales aged in new American oak, to imperial porters aged in spent Fernet barrels, Odell is producing fascinating and innovative barrel-aged beers. We managed to snag four bottles for our tasting table - Woodcut No. 5, Woodcut No. 6, The Meddler and the Fernet Aged Porter. Read on for our tasting notes and leave a comment if you’ve tried any!
The Woodcut No. 5 looks like sunset in a glass. Copper, amber and orange hues are punctuated by crisp, tiny bubbles. The blend of Belgian ale and house ale yeast used to brew this Belgian-style quad contribute to a tart cherry aroma which blends into the warm caramel notes of oak. The oak barrel aging brings out tones of creamy vanilla flavor, which are complemented by hints of plum and cherry.
An oak-aged American ale, Woodcut No. 6 poured the color of candied orange rind. Mosaic hops (our September Hop of the Month!) featured in this brew produced a zesty, tropical aroma that reminded us of a glass of gin. The vanilla, almond and dried fruit flavors of the oak combine with the distinctive hops to create a wonderfully woodsy palate.
The Meddler resembles the caramel brown of your favorite root beer. Wild yeasts, Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces meddle with the beer over the course of 18 months and contribute to its tart, sour cherry aroma. We tasted a little bit of chocolate and a dash of vanilla with a slightly sour finish.
Aged in Fernet barrels from Leopold Bros. Distillery, this imperial porter delivers a floral aroma laced with rose, lavender and mint straight to the nose. A rich, dark pour with ruby hues, the roasted chocolate character of the porter is infused with the minty, herbal spice of Fernet. If you could magically transfigure the crispy burnt edges of a mint chocolate chip cookie into a beer, this is it.
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