Although Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company debuted less than two months ago, the Framingham brewery is already broadening its lineup of beers with a new barrel-aging program.
Exhibit ‘A’ opened a 20-barrel operation at Jack’s Abby’s former brewhouse on August 31. The latest announcement comes just a week after Jack’s Abby unveiled its own new, barrel-aging venture, the Springdale Barrel Room. The first Sprindale release just hit the Jack’s Abby beer hall today. With both programs in full swing, Framingham will soon be a hub for experimental sours and wooded brews. Massachusetts’s first exclusively barrel-aged brewery, Barrel House Z, opened in Weymouth this year, too.
Barrel-aging involves exposing beer to wine or spirit barrels, previously used or new, for an extended period of time. When a beer emerges from its slumber, it has characteristics from that barrel’s previous inhabitant, or the treated wood itself, to make more complex and boundary-defying beers.
Exhibit ‘A’ cofounder and brewer Matthew Steinberg’s new program will allow him to experiment with new styles that complement his current beer lineup, including the Cat’s Meow IPA and the rotating Demo Tape series, he says.
For his first barrel-aging project, Steinberg filled six whiskey barrels with a new brew, a barleywine ale. He plans to let it sit for a few weeks, with a to-be-determined release sometime this winter or early next year. He predicts the resulting beer will have flavors of caramel and vanilla from its time in the oak, but he adds the fun of the process is not knowing the outcome.
“We are letting the beer tell us what it wants to do,” Steinberg says in a press release. “We’ll evaluate it at various stages to determine exactly what we’ll do with it. We could dry hop it and release it as-is, blend [unaged barleywine] with the whiskey barrel-aged version, or something somewhere in between.”
The barrel-aging program will take up space in the main brewhouse to start, Exhibit ‘A’ marketing manager Kelsey Roth says, but it will be relocated to a temperature-controlled warehouse once more beers are ready to age. For those future projects, the brewery is in the process of sourcing wine, gin, and other whiskey barrels. The team also has a sour program in the works.
While patiently waiting for all these cask-aged beers, head to Framingham taproom and get acquainted Exhibit ‘A’s non-aged offerings, including the Goody Two Shoes Kolsch and Demo Tape Five American porter.
Exhibit A Brewing Company, 81 Morton St., Framingham, exhibit-a-brewing.com.
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