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Barrel-Aged Bottle Releases from Lupulin Brewing: Rubuscubus & B.A. Doppelbock

Listen. Can you hear that? It is the siren call of the barrel-aged beer release. Yes, this phenomenon often stirs something primal in the loins of beer geeks from Ramsey County to Stearns County. This Saturday, October 3rd, that animalistic yearning for wood will be in full effect at Lupulin Brewing Company in Big Lake, Minnesota. Rubuscubus and B. A. Doppelbock are being released for purchase in bottles and also on tap.

At 1pm on Saturday, Lupulin is releasing two different beers that are as delicious as they are fascinating. This release is a celebration of both traditional and trendy. The barrel-aged Doppelbock satiates the more traditional beer geeks while the Rubuscubus excites the trendy Imperial sweet stout fans. The connecting factor is that both of these hefty beers aged for quite a while in some special spirit barrels. Last weekend, I got a chance to sample both of these beers and pair them with some delectable vittles.

Food For Thought: Beer Pairs Sensationally With Food

At this beer preview, the delicious spread of salad, mac & cheese, beef brisket, and fudge brownie is a lesson in beer pairing. The staff at Serrano Brothers Catering put extensive thought into how to best accentute the flavor and aroma nuances of the beers. The challenge of this pairing is that the beers are so stylistically different. Finding a menu that marries the two harmoniously is easier said than done. After sampling, thinking, and drooling, I can safely say these pairings are a hit.

B. A. Doppelbock

Lupulin’s barrel-aged Doppelbock spent almost nine months in Tattersall Rye Whiskey barrels. The Rye Whiskey lends itself well to Doppelbock because the spiciness of the rye is a complimentary accent to the chocolate and caramel notes of the base beer. The time the beer spent in barrels created a depth of flavor that comes across almost as an English Barleywine. You get luxurious notes of toffee and raisin in the barrel-aged beer.

The B. A. Doppelbock has a wonderful chewiness to it that is punctuated by a soothing warmth from the almost 12% ABV. This beer pairs marvelously with beef brisket. The Doppelbock’s boldness does not get lost in the richness of the brisket. The high alcohol cuts the fattiness of the meat to accentuate the savory notes of the perfectly cooked brisket.

The gouda mac & cheese also makes for a match made in heaven. The gouda helped cut through the richness of the beer to highlight some of the chocolate and roasted malt notes. The creaminess of the cheese neutralizes some of the beer’s booziness allowing the subtleties of the malt to step into the spotlight.

Beer Pairing Suggestions for the B. A. Doppelbock

The B.A. Doppelbock is a treat that you can break out for a special occasion. If you don’t have brisket or gouda mac & cheese, but you still want to try pairing it with some food, you can’t really go wrong with a nice artisan cheese. A Stilton would be a nice match and highlight the malty notes of the beer. If you are looking to pair this beer with protein, beef roast, smoked ribs, or a fattier cut of pork is the way to go.

I would stay away from anything too delicate because this beer is a bull in a china shop. It definitely will overpower a spring greens salad or a delicate pan-seared filet of tilapia.

Rubuscubus

This beer is a collaboration between Lupulin and Bottle Logic Brewing from Anaheim, California. The folks from Bottle Logic brewed this beer while in town for the Lupulin IPA Invitational. This is an Imperial Sweet Stout that clocks in at 11% ABV. This beer is high in perceived sweetness. In fact, it has more residual sugar in it than Blissful Ignorance starts with.

This beer style is definitely a new-school phenomenon. Pastry stouts have been around a while, but this off-shoot of the pastry stout is sweeter and much thicker. This style is sometimes referred to as a Florida-style sweet stout. I am guessing that moniker has something to do with J. Wakefield Brewing out of Miami, Florida, a brewery known for sweet stouts that have a lot of perceived sweetness due to the high level of adjuncts used in the brews.

Right off the bat, this beer has a wonderful aroma of raspberries. This beer spent almost 15 months in a Woodford Reserve Double-Oaked Bourbon barrel. If that wasn’t enough, Tahitian vanilla was added for the last four months. I tasted this beer out of a barrel at the brewery towards the end of December and it was phenomenal.

Dan is excited to wheeze the juice fresh from the barrel!

As I sip the beer tonight, several things jump out at me. First, the raspberry is dialed-in magnificently. Too often, raspberries can overpower a stout and become almost like a Robitussin craft cocktail. That is not the case with Rubuscubus. Second, this beer wins the prize for the most viscous liquid I have ever ingested-which is saying something because I have also consumed my mother-in-law’s homemade gravy at Thanksgiving. Because of that fact, I think that this beer needs to be paired with some food to cut into that thickness. Third, with all the adjuncts in this beer, it is sweet, but not to the point of being a cloying mess. As Aaron Zierdt says it best himself, “This is a boozy, sweet decadent treat.”

So, how do you cut through the thickness of this beer with food? I tried the brisket, but it didn’t quite do the trick. In this instance, you need something savory but with equal richness and viscosity. Come on down, gouda mac & cheese! The richness of the cheese cut through the sweetness and thickness of the beer to unearth the baker’s chocolate sophistication of the malt. This pairing was a home run. So, if you crack this bottle and are looking to cut it a bit, get some aged sharp cheese like an 6-year old aged cheddar and go to town.

Lupulin Bottle Release Details

Obviously, you are going to want to get your hands on these bottles. To do so, you need to be at Lupulin Brewing Company by 1 pm on Saturday, October 3rd when the bottles release. There is no limit to how many bottles you can purchase, but don’t be a knob and hoard them for the secondary market because that is not cool. The Rubuscubus bottles are $35.00 and the B.A. Doppelbock bottles are $20.00.

If want to try before you buy, Lupulin will have both beers on tap this Saturday so you can definitely see for yourself. I think both of these beers are well-made and certainly make an argument for why more things should be aged in quality spirit barrels. Also, if you are someone who likes to display bottles that have sexy art, the Rubuscubus bottle art is another success from Lupulin’s artistic genius, Marcus Paulsen.

Like they always do, with this bottle release, Lupulin Brewing shows why they are consistently on the short list of Minnesota’s best breweries. Whether it is a traditional Germain lager or a new-school sweet stout, Saturday’s release has something for everyone. My spider senses tell me that beer geeks are going to be all over Rubuscucbus and B.A. Doppelbock like budget-conscious vegans trying to find reasonably priced oat milk, so make sure it is on your weekend radar. Prost!

Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer.  Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged.  If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at dan.beaubien@beerploma.com .