Originally Published August 5, 2010
The growth of craft beer as a commercial, and even artistic, segment, had led to a lot of special projects and experiments. While some people focus on beers with more and more alcohol, stuffed with hops or odd ingredients, some have looked to old brewing methods as a differentiator.
Two Brothers Brewing of Warrenville has two beers in what it's calling its "J Series." These are beers that have been aged in huge French oak vessels called "foudres," visible on the front page of their web site. These are not used bourbon barrels, but oak which they claims mellows the beer out and adds complex notes of oak and vanilla. The name "J Series" was chosen because every one in the founding bothers' family has a first name starting with "J."
Let's check out the first of the "J" Series, Resistance India Pale Ale. From a 12 oz. bottle, I poured a beer with a light copper color and some highlight streaks. A steady stream of bubbles feeds a rocky head that leaves lacing behind. There's a very nice smell of fresh-cut hops, largely piney, which would indicate that the best time to drink this beer is when you get it home. In a fresh batch, its taste is burstin’ with fresh American hops. Heavy on the pine and extra bitterness, so some might find its appeal a bit limited. But there's a strong malt backing, a bit of caramel roast, to try and complement the hops. That oak is a little hard to detect in a beer with all this bitterness going on, but there is a strain of mellowness that suggests it has laid down for a while. And that some hops may have been added post fermentation.
Resistance in a very relaxing beer, one of those IPAs you might want to try out on someone who's not into hoppy beer. Would go well with steaks or any other grilled meats. My rating is a very strong 4 out of 5.