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Would you pay $30 a beer

November 21st, 2007 · No Comments

The San Jose Mercury News is running a story on beers that are going up market. John Alderete is opening Mayfield Brewing Co. in Palo Alto.

One is a pale beer that began its life as a traditional India Pale Ale but has been fermenting, first in a French oak barrel that formerly held zinfandel, now in an American oak cabernet barrel. When he puts it into corked, Champagne-style bottles just before Christmas, he expects it to be over the top: 10 percent alcohol by volume (a strength approaching that of table wine, which averages 12 percent), with notes of wine and oak and vanilla. Alderete wants it to be a beer to savor slowly, perhaps after dinner with chocolates or a cigar.

The other two beers in barrels are equally unusual: a 13 percent imperial stout that will be aged six months in a port wine barrel and a German amber aging in a French oak cabernet barrel. The amber is about 5 percent alcohol, the same as your basic Budweiser, but in a different world of flavor and intensity. Bud, for example, is aged less than 30 days in stainless steel on a layer of beechwood chips. Bud, like most beers, is meant to be consumed fresh. Alderete’s beers and others like them are the opposite. Aging blends the flavors and the beers mature just like good wine.

Those beer sound like they would be interesting to taste. On of my favorite more expensive beers is Brooklyn Breweries Local 1.

Tags: Brooklyn · Mayfield · NY

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