Barn Owl Takes Flight

For better or worse, the Motley Cru frenzy of April has put our usual fanatic efforts and focus on a decidedly barrel-aged course. It's not to say that we aren't usually in some process of filling, aging, or extracting beer from barrels, but rather, that the excitement from the final stages of readying this 2015 Cru made us eager to reveal a bit more of what's inside our barrels. Perhaps one barrel-blend beer release a year just isn't enough?

The truth is that, over the last few years we've been lucky enough to devote more time, experimentation, and space (both physical and within our brains) to the crazy-challenging, but ultra-rewarding endeavour that is barrel-aging. Because we plan and devise Motley Cru so far in advance, and with more and more interesting styles emerging from our barrels, we have come to the exciting decision to kick off a new series of unique, small-batch, barrel-aged blends. Released sporadically throughout the year, just as soon as we deem the barrels ripe for the picking, these beers will be one-off creations never to be replicated again.

We've never been too interested in adhering to style guidelines, and in our experience we've found that our most complex and interesting beers don't fit into any one single category. They're usually old and wise, funky, sour, or all of the above -- and created as a result of blending old and young barrels into one harmonious batch.

The ongoing barrel blend series will be named Barn Owl, as a nod to the wise and exacting animal that keeps watch over the farmhouse. The name will sound familiar to those who awaited the brett barrel-aged peach Monogamy slated to christen the title, but missed marks are an inevitable part of the learning process in our barrel program, and that beer just wasn't ready in the timeline we had so boldly predicted for it. For now, it's still aging.

We're excited to finally reveal the news of this new series, and talk specifics about Barn Owl Blend No.1, our first release due out next week. This sour brett ale was aged for 12-18 months in barrels with ginger, apricot, and cranberry -- and emerged as one of the most unique and interesting blends we've produced thus far.

Blend No.1 is a strangely harmonious combination of flavours that work together seamlessly, in a style that almost lends itself more to cocktails than beer. Aromatics of candied apricot, ginger, warming spices and soft brett, give way to moderate acidity balanced by bright, juicy flavours that reference the tart cranberries. Great medium body and an off-dry finish.

The owls were beautifully illustrated by Kate Wakely-Mulroney -- the same illustrator who brought Witchshark to life -- and the label was designed, as always, by our fantastic design duo at Doublenaut.

Barn Owl Blend No.1 goes on sale Friday May 8th at 11am. There are just over 2500 bottles, and a limit of 8 per person. $11/per BTL