4/2/20: Tales from the Cellar #4--Blue Owl Brewing's Ol' Wee Beastie (2018)

3:52 PM

Well, folks. We've officially made it through second winter. Last weekend it was 80°. Then, over the course of the days after that, it dipped back down into the 30°s. Now, it seems like we've settled into an agreeable average that lands somewhere in the 60°s. For now. This is Ohio, so that's likely to change.

Since we're still under Stay at Home orders from the governor (in fact, his office just extended this out until May first), I'm still breaking into my cellar for beer. Like last time, I selected my beer again--in a very similar fashion. I opened my cabinet, plunged my hand in, and stuck what I pulled out of it into my fridge. To my pleasant surprise it turned out to be Blue Owl's 2018 Ol' Wee Beastie. Let's get into it.

Last February I visited some friends who live in Austin, TX. They took me on a tour of their favorite breweries, including Blue Owl. The place is an all-sour beer brewery that puts time into a souring process that compliments a beer style instead of overpowering it. And they can their product! This is good for me because it means I was able to bring some home in my checked bag. Here's their "About" page for more information if you want it.

Ol' Wee Beastie is a barrel-aged variant of Wee Beastie (which, you might recall, I've already discussed). Today's variant is that same sour wee heavy after it's been aged in whiskey barrels and had an orange zest infusion. There's no ABV listed on my can but, according to its Untappd page, the ale rings in at 9.3%.

I get a ton of whiskey barrel goodness on the nose. I get orange, cinnamon, warm buttered bread, and vanilla. There's a brief indication of sourness but not much. Overall, this is a beer that smells like one hell of a winter warmer. Maybe that's why Purrl didn't hate it too much--she gave my can seven whiffs (which is good considering I woke her up for the picture).

Wow. Just wow. I didn't get much sour on the nose but it's downright forceful in the ale's flavor profile. The orange is hearty here, too. Unpacking it, it's a brief bit of whiskey barrel, a kick of orange, a punch of sour, then orange and whiskey mingling in the finish. While I do find some roastiness here (dark chocolate and black coffee), as befitting the style, it's way in the back; the sourness, the orange, and the whiskey all split the front seat.

Ol' Wee Beastie has a full mouthfeel. Robust. Thick. Slightly bitey. Definitely all things befitting its style, bouquet, and flavor profile.

For some reason, this beer reminds me of the slew and blur of shows I saw in college. From house shows in cramped basements to the stages of dive bars that I loved to the core, the Athens, OH music scene was killer. One time my buddy and I smuggled a few pounders of Icehouse into one of those dives to drink while the bands played (sure, drinks at those college bars were cheap, but we were cheaper). I mean, we did our part: we paid the cover.

Would I do that again? Hell no. Icehouse sucks. And, I mean, I wouldn't smuggle drinks into any show these days--I just buy them from the venue like a normal person. But, at the time, that was part of the experience. While Mindfish or Spooktober music poured from the speakers and ruined my ears, my friends and I bounced around the crowd and screamed along.

Its funny. I'm re-reading that original Wee Beastie post while polishing off my can of Ol' Wee Beastie and, as different as this variant is from the original ale, there are so many similarities. The final similarity is my rating of it: 9.5/10. Blue Owl might just have been my favorite ATX brewery and I'm happy to report that, over a year later, their beer's still holding up here in The Sticks, Ohio.

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