Begyle Barrel-Aged Christmas Ale

Begyle’s Barrel-Aged Christmas Ale was aged just one month shy of a year, but just in time for the holidays. In the whiskey industry there’s a saying, “There’s no substitute for time,” when referring to barrel aging. The 11 months that the Malt Row brewery decided upon was a perfect choice when bringing these 53 gallon barrels back to life for a third time. 

The casks were originally housed with Heaven Hill Bourbon, and after holding a the Native Spirit, the barrels were shipped to Rhine Hall Distillery. The Chicago-based brandy distillery then aged their apple brandy in the second iteration of the casks’ life. Begyle brought the barrels up town, and dropped in their red ale steeped with bay leaves and cinnamon into the casks. The result is a barrel-aged ale the feels like sipping the filling of an apple pie as cinnamon notes filter through a perfectly charred crust. 

Begyle Owner Kevin Cary hunting for barrels at KOVAL Distiller last Spring.

Begyle Owner Kevin Cary hunting for barrels at KOVAL Distiller last Spring.

Its flavors are full of robust Christmas tradition that’ll provoke you to keep your Christmas tree up until spring saisons and summer ales starting hitting the shelves. The ale is warming on a cold winter day, yet, refreshing enough to drink all year long. Brewers Liz French and Nick Argoudelis aimed at creating a boozy apple pie, and they certainly achieved their goal. Their 9.96% ABV ale exudes dessert after a large holiday feast. Its rich, spicy body and sweet, crispy edges will keep the holiday spirit alive once the Christmas has come down and all the lights are reduced to hiding in cardboard boxes.

jake hukee