A few days ago I was drinking at another post-work establishment when word arrived that in just a few minutes a release party was starting up at West End Architectural Salvage (22 9th Street) for Madhouse Brewing Company’s Templeton Rye Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. So, I hurried on over to see what was going on as I was not going to miss a chance to taste and maybe snag some bottles. It can be insanly difficult to get some of these specialty releases from Iowa’s breweries. After getting there, I can say that this was a well-put together operation. Baratta’s had some free food, Chocolaterie Stam was handing out free chocolate, Jasper Winery was there with their new Wild Boyz Port-Style Wine, and Scott Bush was there with free sips of Templeton Rye. But the real reason I went was to get a taste of Madhouse Brewing’s Templeton Rye Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. I’m not really what I’d call a hop-head, so the chance to grab some bottles (and some cups) of this stout was quite welcome. Although there is supposed to only be a residual amount of Templeton Rye in those barrels, this Imperial Stout had a definite whiskey zing that cut through the malted barley. Sometimes that is a good thing with stout. An important characteristic of this stout is that the glass did not get that cloying molasses taste that can cloud the finish on an otherwise good dark beer. This stout is aged in Templeton barrels for three months and that seems to be a good amount of time. I like it when local brewers go ahead and brew some specialty brews — as long as I can get some! I bought a couple of bottles of this and the Oak-Aged Imperial Red so I’ll see if I can write up some more tasting notes on both.
I took a sip of Jasper Winery ‘s 2009 Wild Boyz Port-Style Wine and was pleasantly surprised. This wine spent a total of three years in a wine barrel. I did not detect any of that labrusca taste that haunts most Iowa wines. Maybe letting it fortify for awhile in a barrel helps it. The event was standing room only until after closing. I’d never visited the new location of Architectural Salvage and had no idea that they served coffee. These cross-marketed products and events are a great way to build synergy and brand awareness for local products. I hope to see and attend more.