Beer Man

Five Tequila Barrel-Aged Beers From Colorado Breweries

Colorado's breweries continue to experiment with new styles, new ingredients and new ways of melding flavors. As a result, several breweries have now packaged beers aged in barrels that once held the potent fruit of the agave plant. River North Brewery, for instance, released a tequila-barrel-aged version of its J Marie Saison last fall, while Fate Brewing produced its salty Uror Gose the same way. But the trend — and the flavors it produces — has definitely been growing in popularity over the past few months. Here are five more tequila-barrel-aged Colorado beers that you should be able to find on shelves now. Salud!

5) Myrcenario
Odell Brewing

Odell Brewing has been exploring relationships with Mexican craft brewers for a few years, but it hasn't limited its love to beer makers. Myrcenario, a 10 percent ABV double IPA aged in Jose Cuervo barrels, is the result of that love. “We aged our Imperial IPA in retired Jose Cuervo Tequila barrels. In turn, the folks at Jose Cuervo aged their Tradicional 100% Agave Tequila in our retired beer barrels,” Odell says. “The brew boasts a spicy, tropical hop character that balances the toasted oak with a surprisingly smooth finish.”

4) Fortuna
Avery Brewing

Number 28 in its acclaimed one-off Barrel-Aged Series, Fortuna is an 8.1 percent ABV sour ale (fermented with Brettanomyces, Sacchromyces and made with Lactobacillus and Pediococcus) that was aged for nine months in Suerte tequila barrels purchased locally. Inspired by the flavors of a margarita, Avery's brewers also added fresh lime zest and salt. It's still available here and there.

3) Sobremesa
Copper Kettle Brewing

Last week Copper Kettle released the newest batch of Sobremesa, its English strong pale ale, which was made with fresh lime zest and sweet agave nectar before being aged in tequila barrels. The 8.1 percent ABV brew is sold in bomber bottles at the brewery and in liquor stores.

2) C'est La Saison
Diebolt Brewing

Diebolt Brewing recently began bottling some of its limited-release beers and selling them out of its taproom, with a small amount of liquor-store distribution as well. C'est La Saison is a 9 percent ABV French-style saison aged for four months in tequila barrels. “The aroma hits like a bursting piñata with candied oranges, toffee, oak, floral and slight smoke that drifts to a sweet citrus, burnt sugar fiesta of flavor before heading to a silky smooth finish,” the brewery says. Call first for availability.

1) Tequila Barrel Aged Ophelia
Breckenridge Brewery

Breckenridge Brewery, which just moved from its longtime home at 451 Kalamath Street to a twelve-acre, $38 million campus in Littleton, has also begun expanding its barrel-aged and specialty beer programs. One of the first to be brewed and bottled is a tequila barrel-aged version of its 7.2 percent ABV Ophelia hoppy wheat ale. This beer is on shelves now.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes