Try This Beer – Dogwood Brewing Barrel Aged Belgian Wit
Vancouver’s only organic brewery brought out an extremely limited batch of this new Organic Belgian Wit, aged in Pinot Noir barrels. You need to try this beer.
Earlier this year Dogwood Brewing in south Vancouver brought on Thomas Batty as their head brewer. Immediately Thomas began experimenting and one of his first releases is this Organic Belgian Wit, aged for three months in French white oak Pinot Noir wine barrels. Thomas is eager to put his other ideas into practice as he finds his feet at Dogwood. If this Wit is any indication, we should expect exciting things from the brewery as the year progresses.
Aging a lighter beer like a Witbier in barrels is slightly unusual to start, let alone using red wine barrels for the purpose. In this instance, the barrels were fairly new, having only held Pinot Noir for a short time before making their way to Dogwood Brewing. The beer then comes in contact with raw oak that gives a depth of flavour that is both delicious and unexpected.
Why the recommendation?
Which brings us to the question: why am I recommending you try this beer?
It’s clear that I’m a fan of anything Limited Edition and this oak-aged witbier is just that. It can be found only at Dogwood’s tasting room, as well as at select taprooms around the city. Basically if you’re not going to the brewery, you need to grab a glass of this if you can find it a pub near you. The brewery won’t be filling growlers either so you’re starting to get the picture of just how limited this beer is. The growler pictured here is one of only a few that the brewery was willing to let go of to get the word out.
Naturally, rarity and scarcity can never the only reasons I recommend a beer. The uniqueness of a barrel aged witbier is another thing that makes this beer a must try. Thanks largely to the trend of barrel aging stouts and other ‘big beers’ there is a perception that barrel aging makes a beer pungent and boozy. This comes from the more common practice of aging heavier beer styles in whisky or bourbon barrels. While the aged witbier from Dogwood does take on a somewhat vinous quality, that character is surprisingly subtle. There is also an oaky note that is pleasing and helps round out the flavour. But the most prominent change in the beer is that it seems softer and more mature.
Witbier is a rather delicate beer to begin and the barrel-aging process did not rob it of those subtleties. The citrus flavours from the coriander and the spice from the black pepper remain and are accompanied by notes of wood, vanilla, and grape.
All in all this is a unique and unexpectedly complex beer that deserves your time. If you can get down to the brewery, definitely stop in for a glass. Otherwise, keep your eyes on Dogwood’s social channels and your favourite local taproom to see when this tasty beer will be offered elsewhere around the city.