19 Oct Annual ‘Barrels on Bonna’ Highlights the Art and Artists of Barrel-Aged Beers
The annual Barrels on Bonna Beerfest highlights the art of barrel aging beers. Twenty Indiana breweries along with some from neighboring states converged on Black Acre Brewing Company’s production facility in Irvington to showcase their cellared creations.
Aged in rum, tequila, gin, wine or whiskey barrels, the beers featured at Barrels on Bonna take months and sometimes years to craft. This festival provides an excellent opportunity to experience these unique beers rarely available outside of a brewery. Several of these beers possess a higher than average alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 8% to 15%!
Black Acre poured a variety of tasty aged options but their gin barreled variant truly stood out. Black Acre aged their citra hopped American pale ale Natural Liberty in a gin barrel. The finished product produces a clean, crisp, and refreshing 5.3% ABV beauty. The gin barrel integrates exquisitely with the hops leaving a fine floral finish. The Gin Barrel Aged Natural Liberty could easily double as a beer cocktail.
The setting of the Bonna Street production space gives off an industrially chic vibe with barrels interspersed around the facility among the numerous brewers and taps. Several bands played live tunes throughout the festival. Space outside allowed for enjoyment of the fantastic fall day by the fire pit or noshing on the Beast’s Food Truck cuisine. Beast, also an Irvington resident, recently finished 2nd in Nuvo’s Best of Indy 2016 competition.
Barrels on Bonna’s laid back scene allows for interaction with the people actually brewing these specialty beers. Steve Murray, the Head Brewer and owner at Michigan City’s Burn ‘em Brewing, chatted at length about which beers are best to barrel and the barrel aging process. Steve stated that heavy, dark, and higher alcohol beers age better in whiskey barrels and using red wine barrels captures the oak elements.
Burn ‘em Brewing brought their Barreled Aged Long Johns On beer to the party. Burn ‘em aged their Winter Ale in Woodford Reserve Barrels for 9 months with nutmeg, vanilla, and dates. The resulting 9.9% ABV aged product is soundly smooth with the rich oak characteristics of the Woodford barrel clearly evident. Steve explained as the beer develops they taste the aged beer on a monthly basis, then weekly, and finally on a daily basis until everyone involved agrees that the finished product has reached perfection.
Attending Barrels on Bonna even supports our local Indianapolis community. All proceeds from the event goes to Friends of Irving Circle, a local non-profit that works on the urban beautification of Indianapolis’s east-side.
Unlimited samples of rare beers served in a cool space with the ability to directly connect with the breweries and all of this is supports a great cause? Barrels on Bonna is a truly special event.