Fill It or Spill It

Met the Brewer: BOAKS Beer

In Beer Event, New Jersey on March 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I’ve got a new thing I want to try to make a regular occurrence, going out and meeting brewers to talk beer.  I’m not trying to be an interviewer or a journalist by any means, I just want to try to get some insight or cool stories from the people that make the beers I enjoy.  I’ve reached out to a couple local places to see if I could sit down to talk to someone.  Some places didn’t respond and one place just told me take the tour, which really didn’t help.

The response I got was from Brian Boak from BOAKS Beer.  He was cool enough to reply to my email and let me know that he would talk to me and have a beer.  He invited me to his keg painting and box making party, so I said I would be there.  What is a keg painting and box making party, you ask?  Well, it’s painting empty kegs and assembling boxes.

A little background on BOAKS Beer.  Boaks Beer, as stated on the website, “is a NJ craft brewer of select ales” and its founder is Brian Boak.  BOAKS contracts with other breweries to make his beers available.  The first time I tried a BOAKS beer was last year at the Beer Expo in the Meadowlands.  I had the Monster Mash, which is a Russian Imperial stout and the Two Blind Monks (Dubbel).  I really enjoyed both beers, so what an awesome opportunity to help out a local brewer and meet the founder.

My wife and I headed out to meet Brian and to paint some kegs.  When we arrived, we met the other party goers and Brian.  The project for the day was to paint 50 kegs and assemble 100 boxes to ship Monster Mash.  Our kind host let us know that first thing was first and a keg had to be setup.  The beer Brian had for us to tap was Two Blind Monks which was aged in Jack Daniels barrels.

There is a cool story attached to the beer that we were drinking.  Brian was part of an event in which he brewed 3 beers to show the progression and creation of a beer.  The start was Two Blind Monks, he then aged Two Blind Monks in the JD barrels, the third end beer was the Wooden Beanie, which is Two Blind Monks aged in JD barrels with Madagascar vanilla beans.  It must have been really cool to be able to see how the flavor profiles change at each step.   So, I was getting to enjoy the second beer.

"Wooden" Two Blind Monks

The “Wooden” Two Blind Monks was very good.  The beer poured with some creamy head and poured a clear, brown color.  I didn’t ask what the ABV was, but Two Blind Monks is normally 7%, so I’ll assume this was too.  It had the nice raisin and dark fruit notes in the taste.  The woodiness from the barrels worked well with raisin notes and made for a cool take on a dubbel.  It had a very smooth finish and surprisingly light body.  This was a perfect beer for the occasion because it was gorgeous outside and easy to drink; good session beer.   If I could get some more, I would totally have some chilling in my fridge right now.  My wife isn’t really into the darker beers, but she liked this beer.  She was talking about it on our drive home.

Brian was nice enough to show me inside his warehouse and show me where the kegs of beer were stored.  He also showed me the JD barrels he had, which were going to be used to brew Wooden Beanie.  While we were taking a break and drinking beer, Brian told me that the Wooden Beanie would coming out for drafts in the near future, so I’ll be looking for it.  He also said he was working on a new beer “Jan’s Porter” which will also be coming out soon.  If his other beers are a sign of things to come, you know I’ll be looking for this one too.

(Brian taking apart a JD barrel)

If you are out and see you BOAKS Beer, I suggest you grab a pint or pick up a pack of it.  It’s good stuff.  Who knows, the beer you drink may be coming from a keg that was painted by me.  Support your local brewers!

(Our handy work, which one will you be drinking out of?)

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