The Bruery - Glenwort 2020
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Small Nonic, or Tulip Glass
Second up in this potent roundup of limited releases from The Bruery is their 2020 vintage of Glenwort, an incredible smoked beer that delivered so far beyond our expectations. This 14.9% ABV beer was aged inside Laphroaig Scotch whisky barrels (not to be confused with a Scotch-style ale) and is brewed towards a peated, Islay-like Scotch flavor profile. We think it does so beautifully. It’s full-bodied and whiskey-tinged, with notes of campfire, vanilla, and caramel.
Glenwort 2020 pours a deep, murky caramel-brown color with thin golden edges, allowing a bit of light through; there’s a touch of viscosity to this one. Modest head formation from the initial pour, which isn’t surprising given the potent ABV. Initial aromatics lead with generous Islay-like scotch and fiery campfire notes, but surprisingly smooth throughout. Rich caramel and subtle notes of chocolate and coffee come through from the specialty-malt additions. A ton of complexity coming from this as it’s allowed to warm up in our glasses, showing dark berries, pleasant tannins alongside oak and almond, leather, and vibrant smoke complexity.
Full-bodied mouthfeel for sure, with subtle underpinning carbonation providing just enough lift throughout. This gently aged Glenwort bottling is drinking just perfectly at the moment: velvety smooth on the tongue, that alcohol surprisingly tucked away, and the caramelization and whisky barrel’s vanilla oakiness providing smoothing elements. The smoke character is so beautifully developed in Glenwort—it’s one of the best smoked beers we’ve ever had—and the impact feels chewy and plush, campfire-tinged, but never overbearing or acrid. That rich core maltiness keeps this nicely rounded overall, with chewy dark caramels, well-roasted coffee, hints of licorice and leather, and some engaging chocolate on the mid-palate forward.
There’s so much to like about this beer—perfectly mimicking that peated smokiness of Islay scotch, all while presenting delicious specialty-malt complexities that you’re just not likely to find in a whiskey. Lasting finish of milk and dark chocolate, darker caramels, and subtle hints of chewy, fruity, vinous warmth. Such an expressive, generous barrel-aged release. We’d love to try this bottling with some of our favorite maduro-wrapper cigars, or some of our favorite barbecue! This would also be very interesting sipped alongside a small dram of Islay whiskey.
Like most of the beers in this special offer, Glenwort offers a potent ABV level and should continue to age gracefully in your cellar for years to come—but it’s drinking great right now. For food pairings: we’d work with the core smoky notes and fiery elements alongside some potent, spicy barbecued pork or grilled, pepper-rubbed steak.
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