This was a super fun beer for us and another great example of how things evolve over time. We started out with some inspiration from the Flemish beer styles Oud Bruin and Flanders Red and made a deep reddish brown base beer using healthy doses of some darker malts. We pitched a full array of microflora, including brett, lacto and pedio on top of the primary saccharomyces fermentation to add some nice acidity that really evolved over the first few months in neutral French oak wine barrels.
At that point we were pulling some barrel samples to taste and felt like it was coming along quite nicely, but maybe still missing just a little bit of the intrigue we were hoping for…
...so as we barreled up Rhino Suit in October, we decided to transfer a few of the barrels of our adolescent wild red ale into those freshly emptied bourbon barrels and add whole, Oregon grown cherries to the mix. Those barrels went nuts for a few days as the cherries fermented (making quite a mess in the cellar), but after finally calming down and maturing for a couple more months, we were thrilled with the result!
The final blend includes about 25% beer that spent the duration in neutral oak Pinot Noir barrels and 75% that got a quick, couple month dose of second use bourbon barrels in addition. So although Cherry Parliament took a little different path than initially contemplated on brewday, we love the beer and our flexibility to experiment a little bit and evolve each project as it develops is one of the most exciting things we get to do around here.
Mellow notes of cherry, dark fruits, and spices blend with some pleasant vanilla oakiness and just a hint of chocolate on the finish. Mild to moderate acidity headlines a medium bodied mouthfeel, and obviously if you’re making a Parliament reference, it's gotta have that funk!