A wheatwine is basically a barelywine with 50 percent or more wheat malt. They’ve become our favorite sipping style, offering just as much sweetness and booze as barleywines, but with lower hop levels. For me, they’re simply the quintessential winter beer, delivering a hefty dose of warming alcohol alongside complex sweet, fruity malts.
That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s summer AND the latest installment of Fancy Pants Sunday, a column that champions high ABV, complex and delicious craft beers — and The Bruery’s White Chocolate (14.25%) fits the bill. We have no problem sipping this wheatwine next to Peaks and Pints’ open windows.
The primary component of The Bruery’s “White Oak” ale is a 100 percent barrel-aged wheatwine that the brewery affectionately refer to as “White Oak Sap.” Essentially, it’s a “summer” barleywine style ale, but made with a wheat heavy grain base, then aged in used bourbon barrels for nearly a year . To compliment the already rich flavors of the beer, the brewery adds cacao nibs and vanilla beans to give this beer the delicate flavor of white chocolate.
Indeed. This bourbon barrel-aged wheatwine-style ale made a fanciful trip to the chocolatier and returned with luscious flavors of white chocolate — hence the name.
This might be the best wheatwine we have ever sipped. It pours a golden orange. The head fades fast due to the high alcohol. Dipping our nose in our 12-ounce snifter reveals pure white chocolate from TCHO, a luxury chocolate maker based in Berkeley, California. Seriously, it smells like a plate of white chocolate — with a little bourbon, caramel and sugary oak notes. On the tongue, we get all the chocolate and vanilla, plus fruit, almond, toffee and an almost full and slightly oily mouthfeel.