Editorial Dept.'s picture

21 Anniversary Ale – Heavy Seas Beer – 94 Rating

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?  
Our 20th anniversary ale was a reformulated bourbon barrel-aged take on our first "Heavy Seas" beer, Winter Storm, which is an American twist on an ESB.  So, the natural progression in 21 to a novel (for us) rye whiskey barrel aging inspired me to design a strong ale with rye malt and earthy english hops.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?  
The balanced complexity of this beer is surprising and unusual.  The many layers of flavor, including a spiciness from Crystal Rye Malt and the rye whiskey barrel aging, keep this beer interesting without being cloying or too heavy.  I believe I've referred to it as "a graceful orchestration of ale, wood, and spirits".

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?  
It's our 21st Anniversary, so we simply called it "21".  We'll produce "22" later in 2017 (rye barrel aged Trippel).

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”  
Probably not.  The high ABV would wear me down after consuming one or two.  But, it would be on my short list of last meal beers.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?  
Warming, balanced, spicy, interesting, clean, caramel-ly, different yet familiar.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer? 
We use local ingredients and partners whenever possible.  My former Brewing Team Leader left us to enter the distilling world.  His new company produces some wonderful Rye Whiskey here in Baltimore.  So, we thought there could be no better way to accentuate our 21'st Anniversary than to procure 60 of their fresh dumped barrels in which to age our Rye Imperial ESB.  It was a fantastic collaborative effort that produced an amazing beer.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?  
Good question.  This beer stands alone fairly well.  But, I'd probably go with some milder cheese, like Brie or Gouda, or some BBQ pork.