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Learn About The Life Of A Barrel At Jerry's Wicker Park

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 2, 2015 8:00PM

The relationship between breweries and distilleries has deepened in recent years as more breweries implement barrel aging programs to create high gravity beers teeming with flavor. Goose Island Beer Co. was one of the earliest breweries to dump beer into bourbon barrels with their Bourbon County Stout line and have continued to experiment with barrel aging by including wine barrels for their “Sisters” line of beers and other barrels for their “Fulton & Wood” series.

The distilleries, meanwhile, are able to give their barrels a second life by selling or handing them over to breweries to dump some beer into and age for a few months. Goose Island has used Heaven Hill barrels, among others, for their Bourbon County Stout lines for years. Wood imparts color and flavor to spirits and enhances the flavor of beers while picking up what remains in its pores from the aging of a whiskey, rum or other spirit.

Goose Island and Heaven Hill are teaming up for an event at Jerry’s Wicker Park Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. that shows how barrels impact and impart flavor to whiskeys and beer. “The Life of a Barrel” will feature Chris Tabor of Heaven Hill explaining a barrel’s first “life cycle” as guests tastes four separate whiskies from an unaged “white dog” up to an Elijah Craig 23-year-old bourbon. Goose Island’s director of innovation Mike Siegel will follow with a discussion and pouring of the second and third rounds from the brewery’s barrel aging program, along with a tasting of four beers starting with the 2010 Nightstalker (the base stout for Bourbon County Stout) and three separate beers from the BCS portfolio.

This is a ticketed event and includes snacks so guests don’t get loopy drinking all that booze. Purchase tickets ($60) here. Jerry’s Wicker Park is located at 1938 W. Division St.