In the late summer of 2016, as the days started to get shorter and our tap list started to turn darker, we began our venture into barrel aging beers in oak barrels that had previously been used for wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir). Our initial barrel-aged release, Hibernator 2016, a blend of Brett, cherry and orange Imperial Stouts was something that we were tremendously happy and proud about. Since then, we’ve been tinkering and developing new recipes and ideas for other great beers, such as our Brett Bretterson, a wild Brett barrel Saison.
As our barrel aging capacity grew, from 4 initial barrels to 12, we started preparing for a mid-summer limited release and for our annual Hibernator’s 2017 version. Well, it’s now midsummer and we’re pleased to announce the release of our newest beer: The Cherry Widow. The process began last fall as the brewers brewed a dark wheat sour using exclusively wheat and dark wheat malts with a big addition of cranberry for one of our winter ales. We put some of that beer into oak barrels inoculated with Brett (for more info on Brettanomyces see http://bit.ly/2qoe8Ft) on top of Niagara cherries. Over the course of the last 7 months, the Brett has been slowly eating away at the acidity of the beer and helping to ferment out the cherries. Barrels tend to work on their own timeline, so we were faced with either bottling it and cellaring it, or, putting it out now that it’s ready. As our brewer, Ben tells us, “The summer isn’t typically a time for dark releases, but we said why not, and decided to have some fun. Also, it’s very, very good!”
The Cherry Widow is fairly dry, with a sherry and brandy character and a rich cherry, cranberry and dark fruit flavour and aroma. Its sourness is complex, assertive and it strengthens the fruit character.
Cherry Widow will be available this Friday at 5 pm exclusively in our bottle shop. Only 500 bottles will be available for release.