As beer culture has grown, demand has skyrocketed in tandem. Ilan Klages-Mundt, co-founder of Insight Brewing, remembers last year when his brewery celebrated its first anniversary with the release of a special imperial stout. Klages-Mundt thought it would be cool if a half dozen people came early and waited in line for his beer, he remembers.
When the morning of Insight’s anniversary party “A Trip Around the Sun” came, he says, there were 300 people ready to try their Gravity Well special release.
Last year’s version was double barrel-aged, moving from rye whiskey barrels into bourbon barrels. This year’s special offering is different. First of all, it’s two different barrel-aged versions of the beer, making it three Gravity Wells in total. There is the vintage version and two separate barrel-aged beers. Both went into barrels in August, but one batch was aged in bourbon barrels and the other in scotch.
Barrel-aged beers are popular, but logistically challenging. The beers Insight is selling at their anniversary party come out of different barrels and are blended together to make a consistent product for packaging.
The catch is that each barrel may have held the same bourbon or scotch, but each has its own attributes that affect the beer’s flavor. In a sneak peek for press, Klages-Mundt popped holes in 5 different barrels, sharing samples of the unblended beer and showing off just how different the same beer can taste when aged in a different container.
The scotch option is oaky and sharp with a strong alcohol presence (near 11% ABV). The bourbon version is a little sweeter and lighter in body, with the caramel bourbon flavor counteracting the oak slightly in contrast.
While Gravity Well is to be the core of Insight’s annual party, each year the anniversary beer will be different, he says. The purpose is to show off how much can be done with a single recipe, as well the variations between different barrels.
In 2015, Insight sold out of the bottles quickly. This year they’ve increased production but it’s still limited and he expects it to go fast. To add incitement to wait in line this time around he’s even brewed another one-time beer to keep people warm as they wait. Those who show up early and tough it out in the fall weather will get a chance to try a brand new Triple IPA.
Insight celebrates “A Trip Around the Sun 2” on Saturday Nov. 19 from 12-10pm.
There will be special beers, casks, and all three versions of Gravity Well. Live music includes Eyes Appear, Roe Family Singers, Pleezer, American Revival, and Bloodnstuff.