We’re in Chicago this weekend on a bit of a beer excursion. My wife’s sorority sister runs tours of Chicago through her business – Tales, Taverns & Towns – and organized a reunion for the women who were in the sorority with her (and their spouses). We don’t get up to Chicago often, and so I was looking forward to this opportunity to try some beers from many of the breweries that have popped up there over the last few years. We started our evening at the Green Door Tavern, which had a pretty good beer list. I love barrel aged beers, and I loved the name, so I went for this one.
Location: On tap and served in a large chalice style glass at the Green Door Tavern in Chicago, IL.
Numbers: 7.3% ABV, ~230 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s amber-orange in color and fairly cloudy with absolutely no head, just a very thin, bright white ring around the edge of the glass. The aroma is woody with some hints of caramel malt.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel is very smooth. Up front, there’s mostly a light caramel malt sweetness, which turns woody in the middle with the caramel quickly fading out. The wood flavor is a bit of what I would call a “green” wood flavor, meaning the wood was probably fresh, hand’t touch any other liquid, and so there’s a lot of woody flavors in it. The green wood flavors grew in the finish and lasted for a bit in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: There’s no doubt there’s a good amount of green woody flavors in this beer, so I think a good pairing would be a really hearty dish with a lot of flavor. I think smoked meats or a thick steak would complement the woodiness, and something like a pepperjack cheeseburger would offer a good contrasting flavor.
Overall Impression: I enjoy wood-aged and barrel aged beer, but I believe the wood flavor should be allowed to age or mellow to be a complex background flavor. This beer tasted like I drank it off of a fresh 2X4. I’ve homebrewed wood aged beers before, and this tasted like they didn’t soak their oak in water or another liquid before adding the beer to it. It gives it a really green wood flavor that takes over. I liked the little bit of light caramel sweetness up front, but unfortunately, the wood flavor dominated too much and didn’t add the type of wood characteristics I enjoy.