Blend your own barrel-aged beer at AleSmith’s new Anvil & Stave

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AleSmith’s new Anvil & Stave: A Barrel-Aged Beer Experience // Photo via AleSmith Facebook

Barrel-aged beers are becoming increasingly popular in the craft world, but many people may not understand the process by which beer flows from fermenter to barrel to bottle. San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing is hoping to pull back the curtain on that process with their new “Anvil & Stave: A Barrel-Aged Beer Experience” tasting room, which opens to the public Saturday, June 25.

Many are under the impression that barrel-aged beers are simply funneled into a single barrel, then funneled back out after they have taken on wood character. In actuality, most barrel-aged creations contain a mixture of beers from multiple barrels blended together at optimal ratios to craft a finished product exhibiting maximum flavor, aroma and texture. Blending is an art form and Anvil & Stave will provide the uninitiated an opportunity to see what a crucial step it is in forging something special.

“Whether visitors to Anvil & Stave are blending multiple vintages of the same type of beer, the fresh and aged versions of a single ale, or two different kinds of beers altogether, they will be able to gain a deeper appreciation of all that goes into creating exceptional offerings, while gaining an appreciation for all that beer can be,” AleSmith owner, CEO and brewmaster Peter Zien said in a press release. “The sky really is the limit with barrel-aged beers. They represent the next level where craft-beer is concerned, and we’re happy to bring our fans in on the action and provide them the chance to get a behind-the-scenes type of experience with this latest edition to our tasting room.”

The beers offered at Anvil & Stave will come from AleSmith’s varied stock of 500-plus oak barrels. Among other things, those vessels have previously housed a variety of wines (white, red, Port), whiskies (bourbon, rye, Scotch) and other spirits (brandy, Cognac, tequila, gin). Some of the high-gravity AleSmith beers sequestered in wood include Speedway Stout, Old Numbskull Barleywine, Wee Heavy Scotch-style Ale, Private Stock Imperial English-style Ale, Grand Cru Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale, various vintages of Decadence Anniversary Ale and an imperial porter brewed specifically for aging.

Anvil & Stave will open at 11am, Saturday, June 25 at AleSmith Brewing Company, 9990 AleSmith Court (formerly Empire Street) in San Diego’s Miramar community.


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