As more breweries open or expand and competition for the attention of drinkers continues to increase it is important for a brewery to have a calling-card beer. While flagship beers will make up the bulk of sales and be a good introduction to the brand, having a seasonal or rotating release that people look forward to trying each year helps keep the brewery on the minds of potential customers. Sometimes I’ll go months without picking up a beer from a particular brewery, and then their calling-card beer gets released and reminds me to grab a few of their flagships too. For the sake of clarity, calling-card beers don’t need to be whalez (hard to find/wait in line beers), many times they are widely released and readily available during the appropriate season. Three years after it’s initial release I think it’s safe to say that Yankee Swap has become a calling-card beer for Slumbrew. Yankee Swap is brewed with a different recipe each year, but it’s always a big beer aged in rum barrels. Aging the beer in rum barrels, instead of the bourbon barrels that have become omnipresent in American breweries, really sets Yankee Swap apart. I really enjoyed the imperial stout in 2014, and loved the idea of a Belgian style quadruple for the 2015 Yankee Swap release. Slumbrew Yankee Swap is released each year in the early winter on draft and in 22 oz. bottles. On a complete side-note, I can’t believe I don’t have any Slumbrew glassware yet, that is something I plan on fixing in the very near future.
Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2015 pours a deep amber brown with a massive off-white head. The scent is a mixture of fruity Belgian ale yeast along with a little malt and rum. The flavor is complex, but the components work well together. The malts add robust notes of date, raisin, cherry and cocoa. The Belgian style yeast isn’t overly expressive, but adds hints of pear, apricot and peppercorn. The rum is present, especially as the beer warms, adding some boozy sweetness without overwhelming the beer. Yankee Swap 2015 is full bodied and you get a little alcohol in the flavor, but not too boozy for a beer with 12% ABV. The finish mixes fruity esters, sweet malt and a little rum. This is my favorite version of Yankee Swap so far, the inherent malt and yeast flavors in the quadruple work really well with the rum. I will definitely be grabbing a few more bottles for the cellar! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Slumbrew Reviews:
Slumbrew Seasonale Creep, Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2014, Slumbrew American Fresh Tap Room, Slumbrew Attic and Eaves, Slumbrew Island Day, Slumbrew Snow Angel, Slumbrew Trekker Trippel, Slumbrew Sittin’ on Hop of the World