(San Francisco, CA) – Anchor Brewing released its latest batch of Our Barrel Ale earlier this year. Though recent label approvals (kegs only) have raised some questions around future plans for the beer, Anchor Brewmaster, Mark Carpenter, confirms that the brewery currently has no plans to bottle the beer.
Anchor first released Our Barrel Ale during SF Beer Week a while back with just 100 cases of magnum bottles produced. It hasn’t seen bottles since then and remains a draft-only offering at select bars in California and special events in and out of the state.
Why so little of the beer? Unlike most barrel programs in the U.S., in which it is common to source barrels from third-party distilleries and sometimes use them more than once, Our Barrel Ale is only aged in Anchor’s own Whiskey barrels once.
Until Anchor produces a lot more whiskey than it does now, Carpenter says that the beer will remain very limited. He is excited about four whiskey barrels he has been promised that will arrive at the brewery soon; these will be the first barrels to hold Anchor beer in some time. Compare that to a program like Goose Island’s which features well over 1,000 barrels.
Our Barrel Ale is a blend of various beers in Anchor’s portfolio including Old Foghorn, Liberty and Porter. Each batch that is released a refinement of the prior batch, meaning that the blend is continuously changing. The blend is aged in freshly-emptied Anchor Old Potrero® Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey barrels for six to nine months before release. Carpenter explains that Anchor’s three brands of whiskey differ from others in the market in that they are all distilled from a mash of 100% rye malt. The brewers found the new charred oak barrels holding the Straight Rye Whiskey do the best job of imparting Whiskey flavor into the beer so that is the one they use for Our Barrel Ale.
In addition to whiskey, Anchor Distilling also produces two type of gin, one of which is Genevieve™ Genever-style gin. Carpenter noted that the brewery has not yet aged gin in barrels though if they do eventually age the Genevieve™, he is open to aging beer in those barrels in the future.