New Belgium and Four Roses announce the 2021 release of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale

by Phillip Galyean

New Belgium Brewing and Four Roses Bourbon today announced the highly anticipated 2021 release of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale – a pioneering, and highly distinctive beer brewed using a custom-built, proprietary infusion method which pulls flavors from bourbon-steeped charred oak and marries it with a malty sweet, deep amber ale. 

First released by New Belgium in 2018, Oakspire quickly became a favorite among beer and bourbon lovers alike. This year, seeking to up the ante with innovation and world-class bourbon flavors, the brewery collaborated with Four Roses Bourbon, known for their smooth, fruit forward and slightly spicy bourbons, to invent a brewing process that would represent the absolute best of both beverages.

“The process of brewing Oakspire is truly a brewer’s take on distilling, turning bourbon-soaked oak char into a unique and delicious beer,” said Astrid Moresco, Specialty Brand Manager at New Belgium Brewing. “We loved collaborating with Four Roses to bring Oakspire to life through creativity and craftsmanship. If you love bourbon – or just love beer – this is one you must try.”

How exactly are those signature flavors extracted? To start, over the course of a year, Four Roses collects charred oak chips from inside their bourbon barrels as they are emptied. These oak chips contain caramelized wood sugars, which add notes of brown sugar, caramel, and toffee, and add color to the whiskey while it ages. Next, a barrel maker in Minnesota toasts a custom blend of oak spirals which are then soaked in Four Roses’ bourbon. Meanwhile, New Belgium’s world-class brewing engineers construct a series of custom, stainless steel vessels to hold the charred oak and wood spirals. New Belgium’s high-rye base ale then circulates through the vessels during maturation, infusing the flavor from the charred oak and bourbon-soaked spirals, resulting in a stunning, one-of-a-kind bourbon ale with a cult following.

“Four Roses and New Belgium make for great partners because we both are committed to our craft and our own processes, and New Belgium’s innovative approach brings the result of our individual crafts together perfectly,” said Four Roses Chief Operating Officer, Ryan Ashley. “Oakspire takes a different approach from the traditional bourbon barrel ale that brings the rich Four Roses flavor notes forward in quite a remarkable way.”

THE beer for bourbon lovers, Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale is available for purchase at select retailers across the country. 

Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale was brewed and bottled with the following characteristics:

  • Alcohol: 9%
  • Style: Bourbon Barrel Ale
  • Hops: Nugget, Sabro 
  • Malt: Pale, Munich, Caramel 80, Rye, Roasted Barley 
  • Visual: Deep Amber
  • Flavor and aroma: Expect notes of toffee, vanilla, caramel, and hints of coconut and dark fruit  
  • Availability: Select retailers nationwide 

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