You can try and knock the big guys, but they are giving beer geeks what they want: new releases. This month Phillips released two brews. The Double Dragon red ale and a similar rum barrel aged version. Previous years of DD have been great, but recent releases have been lackluster. Their last month oak aged scotch ale is still in the fridge. Extra time is needed to allow the oak tannins to mellow before sampling. This sounds better than I am lazy and plan to get around to it later. Barrel aging is a wonderful thing; the addition of spirit flavours and tannins can truly enhance a beer. Perhaps Phillips will barrel age tap water one day?
Rum Barrel Aged Red Ale = 8/10
The red ale nose is sweeter than expected; lots of black strap molasses, rum and dry toast around. Also unexpected was the creamy, medium full mouthfeel enhanced by a slight tannic astringency. This beer on its own would be quite boring, but the wood aging added something special. Grape must, cherry cola, nuttiness and rum are a great addition to any malt forward beer. A predictable ending of creamy, barreled rum with treacle follows each sip. Food pairings should include earthy flavours. Perhaps cedar planked salmon or creamy mushroom risotto. Don't stick this one in your cellar; there are not any sharp flavours that need to be mellowed.
Alcohol Content +1 (6.8%) I don't think this is right though
Value +1 (I liked it)
Appearance +1 (As always great label art