Sin & Remorse - Indri Dru Whisky Barrel Aged (RBC Exclusive)
Jopen B.V. – Haarlem, The Netherlands
[Imperial Stout Aged in Indri Dru Whisky Barrels for 376 days - 11.6% ABV]
Jopen's roots trace back to the 1990s, when the Haarlem Beer Society began the recovery of Haarlem's lost brewing heritage. Beers were brewed based on recently found recipes dating from 1407 and 1501, and they ended up being pretty excellent. The first of the beers was called Hoppen, based on a 1501 recipe, and this was essentially the beginning of what would become Jopen. Their actual brewery in Haarlem, named the Jopenkerk, was eventually opened in November 2010, inside of a former church. In the succeeding years, Jopen has made a name for itself in Europe and has collaborated with such luminaries as Brouwerij de Molen, with whom they developed the original Sin & Remorse that serves as the impressive base beer for this month's selection, brewed with barley, wheat, oats, and rye, and hopped with Columbus.
Sin & Remorse (Indri Dru Whisky Barrel Aged version), is a very limited edition product, available in the U.S. exclusively through the Rare Beer Club. It's the first stout we've tasted that was aged in whisky barrels from India - specifically Indri Dru, a single malt cask strength whisky aged in ex-bourbon barrels - that add vanilla and toasted coconut notes. This stout offers rich aromas of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and espresso mingled with warm vanilla and toasted oak notes from the barrels, subtle hints of caramel, and dried dark fruits such as raisins and dates, adding layered complexity. On the palate, this luxuriously textured brew delivers layers of deeply roasted malt, bittersweet cocoa, dark roast coffee beans, and rich molasses. The Indri Dru barrels contribute vanilla, toasted coconut, and well rounded char, and there's a gentle bitterness throughout, coming from Columbus hops and the deep roast of the barley malt. This is an exceptional Imperial Stout that marries the bold flavors of the roasted malts with the unique characteristics of Indri Dru Whisky barrels, all contributing to a warm, long lasting finish.
Petrus Aged Pale
Brouwerij De Brabandere – Bavikhove, Belgium (West Flanders)
[Sour Pale Ale Aged 24 Months in Oak Foeders - 11.6% ABV]
Brouwerij De Brabandere, previously known as Bavik brewery, began back in August 1894, when a farmer named Adolphe De Brabandere formally applied to build a brewery with the town council of Bavikhove. A proud member of the Belgian Family Brewers, an impressive coalition of 20 family-owned Belgian breweries, Brouwerij De Brabandere has slowly grown into one of the most successful independent producers in Belgium, producing the Petrus, Bavik, and Wittekerke lines, among other traditional ales. Petrus Oud Bruin served to bring them early acclaim, as did its especially tart base beer and the one we're featuring this month-beloved by Rare Beer Club founder Michael Jackson, who came up with its name-Petrus Aged Pale. This superb beer is very lightly distributed in the U.S. in the 750ml bottle format offered by the Rare Beer Club, with less than 50 cases sold in 2023.
Winner of the World Beer Awards World's Best Sour & Wild Ale 2023, Petrus Aged Pale was crafted with patience and tradition in mind, and epitomizes the essence of foeder beer by undergoing a meticulous aging process of 24 months in French oak foeders. Pouring a captivating lightly hazed gold, crowned by resilient, bright white foam, this vibrant and robustly built ale unleashes aromas of spicy pepper, earthy and lactic tones, and fruity and yeasty phenolics intertwined with herbal and floral hops, backed by pulpy citrus and crushed pine needle notes that give way to farmhouse funk and woody undertones. The pale malt backbone is sturdy on the palate, providing a platform for the bitterness of the hops to come through and show off pulpy lemon flavors mid-palate. There's a seamless integration of malty sweetness, hoppy grippiness, farmhouse earthiness, and foeder driven sourness that make this an exceptional, refreshing, and expansive beer.