The Good in Wood: The Round Up

THE SESSIONS #138 BEER BLOGGING FRIDAY The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. 


The founders of the event, Jay Brooks and Stan Hieronymous, state that it is “an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic.”

Deep Beer hosted The Session #138 Beer Blogging Friday for August 2018.

This Session's Topic

Wood has been used for millennia to store, transport and flavor beer, wine and spirits. Today, the relationship between wood and beer has regained its popularity with brewers and drinkers as observed in the prevalence of bourbon-barrel-aged beer and sours. This topic is deep and wide and meandering, romantic and historic, personal and professional.

The Round Up

I want to thank all of this month's contributors. I always enjoy reading posts to the monthly Session, for one, I expand my knowledge about beer and two, I am exposed to differing perspectives and writing style and thus, become a better writer because of that.

Gary Gillman writes at Beer et seq. Gary's post on this month's theme was entitled The Good in Wood. Gary is a Toronto-based "amateur de biere" with a passion for the social, scientific, economic, cultural, legal and historical aspects of beer, other drinks and food. 

While many consider the use, say, of bourbon barrels in brewing (all made from Arkansas, Missouri, or other American oak) a reflection of old brewing tradition and artisan practices, the link is rather tenuous, imo. It doesn’t mean the taste results enjoyed by so many are improper, after all taste is relative, but I feel it is important to appreciate the history.
— Gary Gilman - Beer et seq

Jay Brooks writes Brookston Beer Bulletin. Jay's post was How Much Wood. Jay is a beer writer living in Sonoma County in Northern California. I often make my way to Jay's BBB to take the historical perspective he adds to beer culture. I enjoyed his use of vintage images. Thanks, Jay for your piece.

As barrel-aged beers have become more and more extreme, almost like an arms race of bourbony proportions, many of these beers have lost their beerishness. I have had many debates and/or arguments on judging panels, panel discussions and at casual tastings, which clearly show me to be the outlier, over how much wood is too much wood.
— Jay Brooks — Brookston Beer Bulletin

Derrick Peterman writes Ramblings of a Beer Runner. Derrick's entry was The Personality of Wooden Barrels. Derrick is a Silicon Valley tech geek. To him, "Beer is a subject rich with culture, economics, science and history in addition to being mighty tasty. Sometimes I dive into those subjects. Other times, I just ramble on about beers or breweries I like."  

What we find with barrel-aging is that each barrel takes on its own personality. Different barrels will have different biomes in them, yeast and bacteria inside..bugs we call them. Barrels will also have different physical characteristics, so this barrel lets in more oxygen while this other one lets in less oxygen and they take on their own personality so that’s where the blending process comes in for us.
— Derrick Peterman — Ramblings of a Beer Runner

Boaks & Bailey wrote Return of the Wood Part II: Woody’s Revenge. Self stated, "We’re geeks in general, but especially about beer and pubs. We write under the names Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey. We live in Bristol in the UK. We’ve been blogging about beer since 2007."

In pure marketing terms, wood is a godsend — what better way to signal rustic authenticity? (Even if you fiddle it.) But what’s interesting to us about all this is that it represents not just a growth in variety but a broadening of the palette (as in artist’s) — another variable, another way to add complexity and depth to even quite simple beers.
— Boak & Bailey

I'm Jack Perdue and write Deep Beer. My contribution to this months theme was Bourbon Barrel Genius. In my journal post, I share some personal experiences around Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout and open up some questions about the first bourbon barrel aged beer.

Does it matter who crafted the first bourbon barrel-aged beer? No, not really, but it does make for interesting discussion.
— Jack Perdue — Deep Beer