I’ve mentioned before on the blog that as more breweries open and move into the state it becomes increasingly important for a new brewery to stand out from the pack in some way. A great way to do this is to focus on a specific subset of style of beers to start, like Mystic does with saisons or Notch with session beers. Another great example is Barrel House Z, which launched last year with a focus on barrel aged beers. I loved the idea when I first heard about it, I think there is a real need for a more diverse selection of beer and barrel combinations. Barrel House Z was launched in Weymouth by Russ Heissner, the former head brewer at Harpoon. Unfortunately I don’t wake it to Weymouth very often, but some of Barrel House Z’s beers have started making their way to local bottle shops. One I tried recently was their red rye ale RR#23, this batch aged in Jamaican rum barrels. Barrel House Z RR#23 is available on a rotating basis aged in different barrels for different lengths of time then distributed in bottles and on draft.
Barrel House Z RR #23 pours deep red with a small white head. The rum dominates the aroma, with just a hint of hops mingling in. The rum also leads the flavor, notes of molasses, sugar and booze. This is complemented by the rye and crystal malts, spicy with notes of crackers and caramel. The hops round out the flavor with hints of orange and grass. The body is on the light side for a big beer, and RR#23 has a little alcoholic burn to go along with it’s 9.1% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering rum flavor. The combination of rum and a rye ale in RR#23 was interesting, I like the idea but the rum flavor was a little strong for my tastes. Still, this was a quality beer and I look forward to trying more of Barrel House Z’s offerings in the near future. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.