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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Drake's Barrel House: Barrel-Aged Beer Tasting Oasis

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 11:55 AM

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY JASON HENRY
  • Photos by Jason Henry

Barrel-aged beer has proven to be more than a passing fad, but tap versions of these wood-aged beers can be elusive or destructive to your wallet.

Enter Drake's Barrel House, a one-stop shop for your oaky fix. This beery oasis is hiding in plain sight behind a San Leandro Wal-Mart.

On a recent visit, we spied nearly 20 Drake's beers on tap alongside guest brews from Berkeley's Jupiter and Triple Rock brewpubs.

There's beer in these barrels
  • There's beer in these barrels

Of the four taps dedicated to a rotating selection of barrel-aged beer, standouts included the Brewer's Droop Bourbon Barrel Barleywine and How Merlot Can You Go, a rich imperial stout aged in merlot barrels. At $2.75 for taster pours of barrel-aged beers, patrons can sample a wide rangewithout demolishing their coin purses.

Just how hot are barrel-aged beers? Of the current top five brews on Ratebeer, three have spent time in oak. And SFoodie is on the record with our love of Russian River Brewing's barrel-aged sour beers.

In addition to the bounty of liquid treasures available on the premises, Drake's Barrel House is a good option for take-home potables. Many of the beers can be taken home in growlers, and the brewery has just launched a "Brew-Rhino" program where customers can purchase a keg at cost on their first visit and swap it for a freshly filled keg whenever they return. Disclaimer: Although modeled after the propane swap system, these kegs won't power your grill. They will, however, make for one heck of a barbecue.

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Jason Henry


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