Today's beer generated the most anticipation on my part, since I am a fan of both strong English ales and beers aged in oak. Innis & Gunn, aged in whiskey barrels and posessing a scotchy, almost buttery countenance, is probably the best known of these types of beers, but there are many. Whether strong ales aged in rye barrels or stouts aged in bourbon casks, the wood imparts a hint of the character of the container's previous occupant, adding nuance and complexity to the beer. Chateau Civrac is produced by Penpont Brewery of the U.K. In collaboration with the Bordeaux vineyard Chateaux Civrac, and is aged in red wine barrels, which is a first for me.
The beer pours-no, wait!- decants a rich copper colour, with very little visible carbonation, and the barest ring of head that quickly effervesces away. The nose, however, is in for a treat: bready, but with discernible red wine aromas and even the tang of tannins.
Tasting the beer does not disappoint, a smooth, rich mouthfeel, with a yeasty/malty overtaste quickly overtaken by the the oaky bitterness and red wine flavours. The aforementioned tannins leave a bit more bitterness in the aftertaste than I am used to in this style, but not enough so to make it unpleasant, just distinctive.
The strong alcohol content (7.5% ABV) does not impede the smoothness or dinkability of the beer in any way, and I would have to say that this Cornish brewery has a winner on their hands with Chateau Civrac; I would definitely try this beer again, given the opportunity.