July 3, 2018

Two "aged with wood" beers from Oak & Ash

All of the beers from Oak & Ash, which shares facilities with the Dancing Camel Brewery in Tel Aviv, are aged with oak chips to impart a drier, more astringent character, as well as the gentle flavor of the wood itself.

Two additions to the line have come out.

Oak & Ash Irish Red Ale.
The first is an Irish Red Ale, a style that can be traced back to the town of Kilkenny in 1710.  The red color comes from judicious use of roasted barley added to the grain bill. 

True to its style, Oak & Ash Irish Red is a beautiful reddish dark amber color.  It's very gassy with a huge white head of foam.  Malt aroma is dominant with caramel and hints of wood.  (I am unqualified to determine the exact tree!)  Alcohol by volume is 4.5%.

On the palate, there's some fruit -- something like bitter strawberries -- caramel, toasty malt and smokiness.  There is no hop taste that I can fathom, but there is bitterness probably from the roasted malts, a very clean bitterness, which stays with the dry finish.  It's then that you also get the taste of wood -- a pleasant ending.

Your Irish Red Ale will go good with sweet stir-fries with tofu, tempeh or seitan, vegetarian shepherd's pie, or be daring and try it with onion soup or a creamy dessert.

Oak & Ash Bock Beer.
The second offering is a Bock beer, with a robust 7.5% alcohol.  Bock is a lagered beer with origins in Germany.  Some say from the city of Einbeck, from where it takes its name, although "bock" in German also means a male goat.  It was originally a dark beer, but some of the modern versions are lighter.

The Oak & Ash Bock is a clear dark brown with a thin beige head.  The aroma is sweet with roasted malt, some wood and fruits.  On the tongue, you get more sweet malt, with dark fruits and vanilla and chocolate flavors, and the dry wood notes which are called tannins.  The body is full, even chewy.

Every good bock beer is excellent by itself, but if you want to eat something with it, think about food that can hold up to the strong flavors, such as spicy dishes, roasted vegetables, sauteed Portobello mushrooms, or for dessert, dark chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

The bitter to sweet balance in this beer is superb.  Brewer Asher Zimble has been making excellent beers for the Dancing Camel and for his own Oak & Ash line.  I always look forward to his new brews, where traditional styles are enhanced through oak aging.       

1 comment:

  1. Just a question about what food goes with beer. Since your specialty isn't meat/fowl/fish, maybe you should consult or pass some beer to a carnivore...


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