This Black Friday, we released three barrel-aged beers, continuing and building on what has become a day of big beer releases for breweries nationwide. Whereas Black Friday was once just a day where you could fight someone in a parking lot for a PS2, it's now become a distinct tradition in craft beer. Barrel-aged stouts (and also barleywines) are the focus of this trend, which is now pretty well established for both breweries and customers alike.
We've always been proud of our darker beers. In 2015, we released our first big barrel-aged stout, Machismo, a thick, chocolaty stout made with a touch of smoked malt and habanero peppers and aged in bourbon barrels. I remember how excited I was the night of the release. Despite some of the worst weather I've experienced in Virginia (howling winds, hail, and freezing temperatures), we sold out in a single day and had a daily record in total sales that we wouldn't break until we opened Sterling.
From that point onward, we began exploring and putting greater effort into these beers. 2017 saw the release of our first high gravity barrel-aged stout, Glory. We continued to progress with refining this style, and by 2019 I think we really began to hit the mark for what we wanted to make.
Some highlight beers included:
- Spellbound brandy barrel-aged stout
- Vain red wine barrel-aged stout with coffee
- Jolly double barrel-aged stout in brandy and bourbon barrels with vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks
- Virtue port barrel-aged stout
- Brave bourbon barrel-aged barleywine with hazelnuts, coconut, and vanilla beans
We're already getting ready for Black Friday 2021, since most of these beers spend over a year in barrels. The plan is for five releases, including a barrel-aged Belgian-style quad (!!!) and a rye wine. In addition, we have a cool project in the works with our friends at Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville which I'm very excited about!
Black Friday is definitely a day I'll be looking forward to every year. Stay tuned for more barrel-aged releases from us over the colder months!