Just in time for the throngs of Craft Brewers Conference attendees visiting Portland, Yard House is introducing some new tap handles and a new Firestone Walker Traveling Oak Barrel-Aged Stout to its lineup of beers. And this is not only at the Portland location as 1,400 new tap handles will be part of a national rollout. The new selections reflect guest feedback and beer trends such as the explosion of local brewing, and the growing popularity of hybrid beers, saisons, and smoked and flavored porters.
Our downtown Portland location will be seeing the addition of Barley Brown Pallet Jack, Elysian Space Dust and Fort George Quick Wit. But the one that brings the most intrigue to us is the new Firestone Walker Traveling Oak, a limited quantity barrel-aged stout exclusive to Yard House. Oak barrels previously used to age Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon for over a decade in Kentucky were sent to Oaxaca, Mexico where they were filled with Del Maguey Mezcal. The mezcal aged in the barrels, which were then emptied and sent to Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California. There they were filled with Parabola Imperial Stout and aged for one year. The finished product combines the roasted coffee, dark chocolate and molasses character of the imperial stout with intense, smoky agave and melon notes of mezcal and oak and vanilla flavors of bourbon.
“Bourbon and mezcal are both distilled in a way to allow the character of the raw materials to shine through in the finished product,” said Matt Brynildson, Firestone Walker Master Brewer. “The combination of these spirits melds well with the roast, hop-accented chocolate and dark caramel flavors of the stout. It’s a crazy combination on paper, but an amazing combination in practice.”
Due to limited quantity, Firestone Walker Traveling Oak is not available at all locations, but it will be available at the Portland location and will tapped on April 14th at 5:00pm. Guests at the tapping event will also have the opportunity to meet the brewer from Firestone Walker, Matt Brynildson, while getting a first taste of the beer.
Other locations that will be offering Firestone Walker Traveling Oak include the Yard House in Boston (Fenway); Denver (Downtown); Long Beach, San Jose, and Seattle. These locations will be tapping this exclusive beer on April 7th at 5:00pm.
Selecting the more than 1,400 new beers for Yard House is a rigorous process. The Yard House beverage team began by meeting with distributors and breweries to identify the newest available beers. Next, the team compiled input including guest feedback, sales and trends. The process resulted in the addition of 150 new brands and partnerships with dozens of new breweries.
“This year’s new selections really emphasize the explosion of brewing across the country,” said Greg Howard, Yard House Beverage Manager. “We are partnering with more breweries than ever before. As a result, about 25 percent of the new beers are local brews and no two locations will have the same beer lists.”
New drafts will also include innovative, hybrid beers that marry two different styles in a single beer. New additions to the list include styles such as wheat IPAs, Belgian Quadruples and IPAs featuring farm- distilled hop oils and hop hash.
Yard House will also add five new Belgian drafts including Duvel Single, St. Feuillien Saison, Piraat Triple Hop, Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel and VanderGhinste Oud Bruin Flemish Sour to accompany the House Belgian Amber Tripel on the Belgian Six Pack Sampler.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.