Beer Meets Barrel

Craig OuthierMay 10, 2021
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When a spirits-centric Scottsdale restaurant puts its barrels to use, beer magic happens. 

Pitch Pizzeria doesn’t brew beer, but that doesn’t mean the Scottsdale gastropub can’t dip its toe into the barrel-aging trend. With its close relationship to top whiskey distillers and access to their barrels, the restaurant has the goods to partner with local breweries on barreling projects, creating limited-run, one-of-a-kind mutant versions of local craft brew favorites that will delight beer geeks. Here’s how Pitch general manager Matt Wymore conceived the restaurant’s current offering, a Four Peaks Kilt Lifter upgrade called Death Proof.

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Last year, Wymore contacted Tempe-based Four Peaks to gauge their interest in doing a limited-run barreling of their top-selling Scotch ale. He knew Kilt Lifter’s malty profile would stand up well to the aging, which usually lasts three months to a year, and causes the beer to metamorphose as it leaches residual whiskey from the wooden staves of the barrel.


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For Kilt Lifter’s aging, Wymore selected a 1792 Full-Proof Straight Bourbon Whiskey barrel. With its dark aroma and spicy esters, the whiskey would give the Kilt Lifter a contoured workout, beefing up its 6 percent ABV and toning its light bitterness. The beer spent eight months in the barrel at the brewery’s Tempe facility, emerging with an 11 percent ABV.

Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

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Early this spring, Wymore tapped the beer and christened it Death Proof after the Quentin Tarantino movie. Available through early May at Pitch, the beer is reminiscent of a holiday-season Imperial porter, with rich gusts of ginger and molasses. For his next release, Wymore plans to age a stout from Tempe brewery The Shop Beer Co. in barrels from both Garrison Brothers and Redwood Empire whiskeys. The names are TBD. Can we suggest Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2?

PITCH
6350 E. Thomas Rd., Scottsdale
480-272-7500, pitchpizzeria.com

Photo courtesy The Shop Beer Co.
Photo courtesy The Shop Beer Co.
Beer of the Month
The Shop Beer Co. Neonic Series: Orange Julius Dreams

Sour Ale/5.1 % ABV/9 IBU
Springtime in the Valley brings more oranges than any of us could possibly use, no matter how fond of mimosas we might be. Tempe brewer The Shop Beer Co. has an answer: make the ubiquitous citrus fruit the centerpiece of its latest Neonic release. A PHOENIX 2020 Best of the Valley honoree, the popular Neonic series finds head brewer Matthew Tattersall and crew dropping limited-edition fruited sours that deliciously mimic nostalgic flavors. A blueberry pie here, a raspberry lemonade there – or, in this case, a certain shopping mall refreshment made from whipped egg whites and orange juice. Available at Arcadia Premium, Tops Liquors and other craft beer stores. theshop.beer

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