The recent partnership of New Belgium Brewing and Four Roses Distillery sees another release of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale, a custom-built infusion method which pulls flavors from bourbon-steeped charred oak for a malty amber ale.
New Belgium first released the beer in 2018, and Oakspire flew off the shelves. “We’re beyond excited to collaborate with the Four Roses team to bring Oakspire to life again in 2022,” said Jared Spagnola, specialty brand manager at New Belgium Brewing.
“Demand was so high for this beer in 2021, we spent all year collecting every last bit of Four Roses char we could so that we’d have more Oakspire in the market for consumers to enjoy.”
In the process of making the beer, Four Roses collects charred oak chips from inside their bourbon barrels as they are emptied.
A statement from New Belgium explained that these oak chips contain caramelized wood sugars, which add notes of brown sugar, caramel, and toffee, and add color to the whiskey while it ages.
Next, a barrel maker in Minnesota toasts a custom blend of oak spirals which are then soaked in Four Roses’ bourbon.
New Belgium’s brewing engineers built a series of custom, stainless steel vessels to hold the charred oak and wood spirals. New Belgium’s high-rye base ale then circulates through the vessels during maturation, infusing the flavor from the charred oak and bourbon-soaked spirals.
“After the success of last year’s collaboration, we were thrilled to come together again with New Belgium to re-release Oakspire, created for beer and bourbon lovers alike,” said Four Roses Chief Operating Officer Ryan Ashley. “The care that New Belgium takes into brewing each beer mirrors our commitment in crafting Four Roses Bourbon.”
Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale is available at select retailers across the country and will be available to taste at Four Rose Distillery’s Visitor’s Center in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky later this year.
Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale notes:
- ABV: 9%.
- Hops: Nugget, Sabro.
- Malt: Pale, Munich, Caramel 80, Rye, Roasted Barley
- Visual: Deep amber.
- Flavor and aroma: Expect notes of toffee, vanilla, caramel, and hints of coconut and dark fruit.
New Belgium Brewing was founded in 1991 in Fort Collins, Colo., by Kim Jordan, a social worker. With expansions to Asheville, N.C., in 2016; Denver, Colo., in 2018; San Francisco in 2021; and the 2021 acquisition of Bell’s Brewery, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., New Belgium is known for its flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale.