For the past five years the Newport Storm Brewery has explored the up and coming frontier of barrel-aged beers. Lucky for them their 10,000 square foot facility also houses the Thomas Tew Rum Distillery giving the brewery a pretty distinct advantage of acquiring fresh rum barrels. The result? A full fledge barrel aging program running the gamut of sour, hoppy and dark, stout-like beers. For their latest creation, RIèzes [ree-ez], the crew at Storm sought to capture the essence of a classic Belgian style ale using an ancient style yeast strain.
Brew Master, and resident sweet tooth of the brewery, Derek Luke, has gone head over heels for this latest creation, “you’d think we added a pantry full of spices and brown sugar to the brew, but it’s o-natural”. RIèzes, a copper hued ale, is rich in malt flavor and has a mild oak scent and finish thanks to the eight Thomas Tew Rum barrels that it was housed in for roughly three months. Munich malt, Belgian Special B and Belgian Candy Sugar bring forth aromas and tastes of raisin, brown sugar and caramel. Tradition, Tettnang and Czech Saaz were chosen specifically to balance out the malt sweetness of this complex beer, allowing the Belgian yeast and barrel flavor to come through. The Belgian yeast strain, with reported links to Chimay (an authentic Trappist ale), rounds out the brew with a sweet bakers bread finish. The history surrounding the Chimay Brewery is what led to the beers name as brewers noted the city of RIèzes, just like little Rhody, is located in the corner of the country and is also a producer of exceptional beers.
Close to 150 cases of this spicy, sweet brew were made and distribution has begun in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania! In the past Luke has suggested letting their barrel aged brews mature a bit before consuming, however, for RIèzes the consensus is “don’t age, just drink!”