Founders Brewing Company Frootwood Cherry Ale Aged in Maple Syrup Bourbon Barrels (8% ABV)
Pour: 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass
Appearance: Pours a honeyed-reddish color with about an inch of thick white head that lingers, leaving some nice edging and a touch of lacing. Mildly cloudy when held up to the light with traces of effervescence.
Aroma: Cherry (duh), vanilla and oak. Not overpowering in the nose, but very nice.
Taste: Unexpectedly light. A bit of tartness up front, then a lot of vanilla in the middle leading into a nice oaky finish. Surprisingly, not much maple in it at all. In fact, it almost tastes like a cherry cola mixed with Backwoods Bastard.
Mouthefeel: Medium-bodied and slightly syrupy – definitely coats the teeth.
Frootwood is the first release of Founders’ new Barrel-Aged Series, and it is a dandy. I’m not generally a fan of fruit beers—I’ve tried a bunch over they years, and they generally taste soapy to me—but there’s something about the natural tartness of cherries that works well with brewing, particularly sours. This beer isn’t a sour, though – far from it, in fact. There’s a touch of tartness, but the oakiness and vanilla notes from the barrel aging process cut it considerably. If anything, Frootwood tastes like Backwoods Bastard (the barrel-aged version of their Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale) mixed with a cherry cola. It’s smooth and very tasty, and the relatively modest 8% ABV (most barrel-aged beers clock in at over 10%) means you can enjoy a few without getting sloppy.
Frootwood sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the Barrel-Aged series. I need to track down at least one more 4-pack before the limited release sells out.