Bourbon, Barrels and Bugs At Iron Hill This Weekend

Ew, bugs in my beer? Why would I want to put bugs in my beer? I nearly had to be resuscitated when I choked down a dried fly during last year’s Philly Science Festival. But I trust Iron Hill Maple Shade‘s head brewer Chris LaPierre, so … I guess he knows what he’s doing?

Just kidding. Chris isn’t really adding insects to his mash. What he means when he promotes his second annual “Barrels, Bourbon and Bugs” event coming up Saturday from 12-4 PM is that he’s showcasing beers to which he’s added a wild yeast strain called brettanomyces. “Brett,” as it’s commonly called, creates sour flavors in beer–something that may have puckered your mouth if you’ve ever tried a Flemish red. While brett beers tend to be an acquired taste, people who fall for them fall hard. So be prepared to elbow your way to the bar to taste anything in LaPierre’s sour flight, which comprises titles like Wild Quadfather, a “strong Belgian-style ale with hints of dark, dried fruit aged in a Cabernet barrel for nine months with wild yeasts,” and Saison Wood (a clear play on LaPierre’s girlfriend’s name, Suzanne Woods), a “classic Belgian-style farmhouse ale aged with the DuPont strain and spiked with Brett B and finished in oak.” Cutting in front of someone may just get you killed.

If you’re more of a bourbon girl than a wine guy, sample from the bourbon-barrel aged flight. This includes Bourbon Eisenhugel, a “strong, dark Bavarian-style wheat ale aged in a bourbon barrel for nine months,” Bourbon Cherry Iron Fish, brewed with Flying Fish’s Casey Hughes, an “imperial black Belgian-style IPA aged in a bourbon barrel with 40 pounds of wild cherries for four months” and Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale aged in bourbon barrels with whole vanilla beans.

See, no bugs. But with a handful of earthy and sour Belgian and French styles, there’s likely to be at least one that tastes (intentionally) of dirt.

Iron Hill [Official]