I apologize for being a little late on this beer. We already wrote our list of favorite holiday beers over on BDCWire. I thought I knew winter beers. I thought I had this holiday-drinking thing down pat. It wasn’t until two days after Christmas, while watching a Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal crime thriller, that I was shown my new favorite winter beer – Slumbrew’s Yankee Swap.
“Don’t you think Jake Gyllenhall looks like a cat?” my boyfriend mused, as I’m throwing everything I thought I knew about barrel-aging out the window. This is the first rum barrel-aged beer I’ve experienced and also, the first maple syrup beer I’ve had that hasn’t been some janky amber.
Made with syrup from the Hadley Sugar Shack, and rum barrels from Turkey Shore Distilleries in Ipswich, MA, Yankee Swap is a true representation of Massachusetts brewing ingenuity.
The aroma is incredibly striking – rich and sweet with tons of rum characteristics (molasses, vanilla). There is a big toasted graininess – similar to the smell of boiling wort when you’re walking through a brewery; all very authentic, fresh and inviting.
Once again, tons of rum similarities in the taste; oak, molasses, vanilla, caramel. The maple syrup is still very noticeable, and nicely compliments the rum qualities; the perfect use of rum barrel aging. It’s smooth and sweet, but never cloying or syrupy. This is really the perfect winter beer; an English-style strong ale with natural syrup and rum, no additional over-the-top spices. I suggest picking up two bottles, no not to yankee swap one in exchange for a Duck Dynasty chia pet or a flask bra (this is actually pretty awesome) but because it is a bit on the hot side and some aging would really mellow it out.
Great job, Slumbrew.