Jumping back into my beer reviews with the second entry in this year’s Barrel Society lineup. While not exactly a new release at this point, I at least got around to this review in a slightly more timely manner than I did for release number one.
Beer Name: King Lear
Brewery: Night Shift Brewing Company (Everett, MA)
Style: Double IPA
Description: Submitted for your approval, the brewer’s notes: Pours a rich, dark orange with a bright white head; grapefruit, classic Brett funk, and oaky white wine on the nose; a cascading symphony of tropical fruits on the palate, across a background of funky stone fruit; finishes with dry, tannic notes imparted by this beer’s time in barrels. Some additional bits of information from the label add that this double IPA was aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels with brettanomyces. Bottled in July 2017.
Appearance: An orange/amber body underneath a fluffy layer of off-white foam.
Smell: Sweet tropical fruit with a funky tartness lingering on the end.
Taste: Light, sweet tropical fruit upfront turned tart and funky towards the middle. From there, the beer went on to close with a moderate hay-like funk that combined with dry white wine, oak barrel, and just a hint of grassy bitterness. In its final settled form this drank equal parts (tart) fruity, funky, and oaky.
Mouthfeel: Fluffy, medium body with a moderate amount of steady carbonation throughout and a dry, almost wine-like finish.
Hype: Always elevated for these releases. With only four planned for this year, they should all be amazing.
Overall: Overall a very solid brew. Given some basic similarities, I couldn’t help but think of the wine-styled IPAs I’ve had from Trillium recently. With that reference in mind, I do say that the front end of this beer with its juicy tropical fruit and mild bitterness held up quite well in comparison. The Brett and barrel aging added a lot of complexity to the finish, making the brew tart and oaky in place of the typical DIPA bitterness I would otherwise expect. By personal preference this isn’t a style I would want frequently, but I also don’t doubt that the brewers got exactly what wanted out of this. I enjoyed my first bottle and have every intention of doing the same with the second.