For most Seattleites, Fremont Brewing is a hop-forward brewery. Their yellow cans of Interurban IPA and blue cans of Universale Pale Ale are nearly omnipresent in Seattle. But for the people who don’t live in Seattle that know about Fremont Brewing—and this brewery is well known outside of Seattle—Fremont means one thing: barrel-aged beer.
The beer sitting in Fremont's 1,300 wooden barrels is world famous. Fremont’s boozy barrel-aged beers like their Dark Star oatmeal stout and their Rusty Nail imperial stout have won some of the most respected beer awards and seven of Washington’s top 10 rated beers on BeerAdvocate, a beer rating website used widely in the beer community, are barrel-aged beers made by Fremont Brewing.
Tomorrow morning (Saturday, Dec. 1) is one of the rare chances to get some of Fremont’s barrel-aged beer. They are releasing Coconut and Coffee Cinnamon versions of their B-Bomb winter ale at 11 a.m. at their beer garden. These are the number 1 and number 4 top-rated Washington beers on BeerAdvocate and when Fremont releases them they always sell out.
Matt Lincecum, Fremont's owner and head brewer, uses the traditional technique of barrel blending to make these award-winning beers, mixing beer from different barrels and different years to create the perfect blend. He said every bottle of B-Bomb has a mix of 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old beer.
“Each barrel is fundamentally unique,” Lincecum said. “One barrel might be really sharp and have much more of that alcohol character to it and the other might be really deep in those strong vanillin components.”
B-Bomb is a winter warmer, a style of beer that is supposed to be boozier and more toasty than a stout and is usually reserved for the special occasions around the holidays.
“I classify our B-Bomb as a winter ale, not a stout because it doesn’t carry as many of the chocolate flavors that are typical of a stout and replaces it with more of a toasty, a spicy character,” Lincecum said.
At 13 percent alcohol, these beers are (obviously) not to be drunk by yourself but rather shared with friends and family. Bring one of these to a holiday party and anyone with a good palate will love you for it. You can also hold on to these beers for a long time. Beers like the B-Bombs are made to be aged further, developing deeper complexities as they rest in their bottles.
“These beers are brewed to be enjoyed the day they are released but really I always recommend to people that they buy one for now and one for five years from now,” Lincecum said. “I brew them to have them age for ten years in the bottle.”
That’s more than just a clever way to convince you to buy two of these. These beers really do deepen and age in the bottle just like certain wines can mature. Fremont released their classic B-Bomb last Friday (which was probably the only thing worth waiting in line for on Black Friday); look for that variant at specialty bottle shops around town. Or if the coconut and coffee cinnamon sound better, head to Fremont’s beer garden tomorrow morning.