I know what you’re thinking: it’s summer. What’s with the barrel aged beers? We should be talking about pilsners and saisons and low ABV pales, right? But good beer is good beer no matter how hot it is outside, and I’ve got a thing for beers aged in rum barrels. The time in rum soaked wood can do a beer wonders, enabling it to hit the vanilla notes big time and can even bring out crazy notes of banana and coconut in a beer. And rum-aged beers tend to be on the boozy side to boot. I like bananas, coconuts and booze, especially in a beer. And listen, you’re supposed to drink rum in the summer. Cut to beach scene with coconut trees and a bunch of frat boys and sorority girls passed out from too many Rum Runners. So here are six beers aged in rum barrels. Because they’re good. And it’s summer.
pFriem Rum Barrel Aged Porter
This is one of the more sessionable beers on this list, coming in at a sober 9.5% ABV. pFriem put their imperial porter into rum barrels for a solid year. The result is a porter that oscillates from chocolate to vanilla, hitting a bit of cherry in between.
Founders Barrel Runner
Founders knows that summer is about rum parties, so they’re releasing Barrel Runner, a hoppy ale aged in rum barrels. It’s the fourth installment in their Barrel-Aged series and the first time they’ve ever packaged a rum-aged beer. Apparently, the brewmaster was inspired by tiki cocktails, so the beer is billed as fruity as hell with a kick from the oak and rum. It’s 11%. Look for it in four packs starting this month.
O’Connor Brewing Ibrik
Virginia-based O’Connor Brewing has a whole series of variants for Ibrik, an imperial Turkish coffee stout that’s silky and smooth all on its own. The Rum Barrel variant gives the beer an extra layer of vanilla as well with hints of cherry and plenty of oak. And yet, it’s still pretty damn subtle. I drank all of the variants (because I’m a journalist), and they’re all solid, but the rum barrel might be my fav.
After trying this beer I made a simple rule: I won’t drink any pumpkin beer that wasn’t aged in rum barrels. It’s not a rule I’m able to stick to, but that’s just how good this beer is. Rumpkin is full of oak and molasses and yes, pumpkin, and it’s all so pleasantly boozy. Look for this one to hit in the thick of summer running through fall.
New Holland’s 20th Anniversary Ale
This beer debuted last November (black Friday), but I bet you can still find it because it’s the kind of beer that tends to stick around for a while. It’s a 20-freaking-percent strong ale that was aged in rum barrels for a year. Naturally, it was released in 22-ounce waxed bombers. ‘Cause this is a fancy beer you need to savor and share with others.
The Bruery Floyd D’Rue
This is a collaboration between the Bruery and Three Floyds. It’s an imperial porter that was aged in rum barrels for a year. But wait, there’s more! The brewers also added vanilla bean, orange zest, cinnamon and a bunch of other spices for a spiced rum vibe. It’s 14% with all kinds of boozy sweet notes. The Bruery recommends pairing this with charcuterie, but I say it goes well with diabetes. Oh, and it’s a Reserve Society Exclusive (a Bruery-centric beer club) so you’ll need to know somebody to get ahold of this baby.