Never mix the grape and the grain. It is an age old adage that you often hear when you first start drinking with the caveat that it will almost always lead to a terrible hangover the next day…
Here at Pirate Life we are known for thumbing our nose at such old fashioned concepts and while we can say we have often awoken to the realisation this advice holds true, this is one particular instance where we are glad we ignored the warning.
About a year back we got together with our good mates at Tomfoolery Wines and began what will be an ongoing collaboration. The idea was pretty simple: to brew some delicious beer and then age it in barrels which had been full of great wine. The first beer to find its way out into the world is the Cerveza Negra – A Dark Ale aged in Tomfoolery Burla Negra Tempranillo Barrels.
It all started as a rich, chocolatey dark ale with smooth bitterness care of Columbus in the Kettle and gentle notes of Manuka Honey thanks to the combination of Crystal Hops in the Whirlpool and Abbey Malt in the Mash Tun. After a long slow conditioning the beer was racked into French Oak barrels which had held Tomfoolery’s 2014 Burla Negra Tempranillo and left to age over the next 8 months.
The result is a complex medley of flavours. The beers rich chocolate backbone has joined forces with the tart cherry of the Tempranillo and the gentle spicy oak of the barrels to produce a beer that reveals something different every time you raise the glass.
We decided that such an interesting beer deserves an equally interesting label. With that in mind we approached legendary local artist John Engelhardt. The label is much like the beer: a dark and complex puzzle which will keep you interested long after the first glance.
A big thank you to everyone who was involved in making this project happen especially Ben “Chippy” Chipman of Tomfoolery wines for his input and hard work every step of the way and John Engelhardt for his amazing artwork.
We hope you have as much fun drinking it as we did brewing it.
Cheers – PLB Crew