Burial Beer Co. remained nimble, gleefully unpredictable Asheville Beer Week players with its Tuesday, May 26, event, The Reincarnation of Beer. Beginning at 4 p.m., the outside bar featured six of the brewery’s beers that had been aged or treated with various adjuncts while the indoor bar carried the original versions. Full pours, half pours and flights of the beer were all available.
Also outside were small-plate pairings for each “reincarnated” beer from chef Josiah McGaughey’s new project Salt + Smoke, with whom Burial is partnering for food events each Tuesday as of May 19. In line with those weekly collaborations, the food was free with the understanding that the chefs be tipped.
Rabbit that I am, my goal was to try the two vegetarian options, but by the time I arrived the food — much like David Ortiz attempting to steal second — was out. Fortunately, Katie Smith, assistant brewer at Twin Leaf Brewery, was there early on and documented the impressive-looking dishes. (Thank you again, Katie!)
As for the beer, having tasted the “normal” versions of all six offerings two days prior, I opted not to take advantage of the full event experience with Before and After flights, going solely with the doctored editions. All were good, often great to the last drop, and I’d be glad to see most of them in semi-regular rotation.
- Haysaw Saison aged on orange peel and bourbon-soaked oak spirals resulted in a juicy offering that worked well with the balanced, boozy flavor brought by the spirals. (Paired with crispy pig ears, orange pekoe tea, market greens, radishes.)
- Bolo Coconut Brown aged on rum spirals and pineapple was a subtle creation, perhaps a little overpowered by the stronger brews in the flight, but smooth and enjoyable nonetheless. (Paired with molasses-glazed pork ribs, corn pone, apricot.)
- Pipehawk Mountain Ale aged on mango and chili peppers might have been the best on the board. Super peppery, but in a pleasant, nonspicy way with the welcome sight of mango sediment, it’s the kind of loud yet approachable beer that I’d like for Burial to try out more often. (Paired with Peruvian ceviche, papaya, hominy, leche de tigre.)
- The Prayer Bier d’Apricot aged on honey and pomegranate, raspberry green tea was another smooth operator, one in which the honey and tea played remarkably well together. (Paired with aged gouda, roasted golden beets, citrus, pistachio.)
- Surf Wax IPA aged on golden raisins and French white oak, however, was the lone concoction on the flight that I’d rather have swapped out for the original. Burial has used raisins before in its Matchstick Petite Abbey Ale, but I don’t recall the flavor being as pronounced as it was here. The slight rummy flavor made it taste like a tub of rum raisin ice cream had fallen in during the brewing process – certainly a boon for rum raisin enthusiasts, but not my favorite flavor palate. (Paired with popcorn, caramel, quatre epices.)
- The Rosary Export Stout aged on tart cherries and French Broad Chocolate nibs brought an unexpectedly big flavor to a beer that I only like and made it one that I damn near love. Now I feel inspired to crack open the bottle of Rosary aged in brandy barrels earlier than planned. (Paired with espresso-rubbed roast beef, pumpernickel, orange marmalade, hazelnut, foraged greens.)