(AP) — In early spring, as Tim Thomssen readied Boiler Brewing Co. for its grand opening in the Grand Manse, he was also thinking a bit ahead to the company’s anniversary. The longtime brewer’s thoughts turned to a barrel-aged Russian imperial stout that the Modern Monks guys released five or six years back. A brewer can then get a few uses out of that same barrel, allowing a beer over an extended period of time to draw in the remaining flavors from the oak, along with the vanilla notes from the whiskey that previously matured in it. Because a distiller only gets one use out of a barrel, the secondary market offers more of them than does a Donkey Kong level. By the time Thomssen talked to Ben Loseke, the owner of Midwest Barrel Co. had a better grip on the barrel business than when he started out nearly a year ago. The four stacked behind the Boiler Brewing bar now house the Russian imperial stout, and an English barley wine is aging in the other four in the back. A few weeks ago, Loseke moved about a hundred barrels into a warehouse just south of Blue Blood Brewing Co.’s brewery, at 3255 S. 10th St. He’s leasing the space for his business from the brewery but he recalled cold calls to Blue Blood, Zipline and others during which he showed up with a single wine barrel in the back of his Chevy pickup and tried to convince them to go outside and smell the chardonnay notes. The grape expert eventually grew interested in used wine barrels, ordering a shipment of 40 chardonnay barrels from a Napa Valley vineyard last September. A Lincoln couple used one as the actual guest book — «Please sign the barrel» — at their wedding this summer. When the Boiler Brewing crew popped open the Templeton Rye barrel bungs, they discovered enough whiskey remaining inside them to fill seven or eight of the 32-ounce aluminum growlers that the brewery offers.
Grape expert tries to flip wine and whiskey barrels – StamfordAdvocate