A true test of willpower: waiting months, years, to drink a beer. But some suds benefit from a little aging. They’re like the George Clooneys of beer, evolving and maturing in flavor intensities and taste complexities. As a rule, the best nominees for aging have elevated ABVs and are fortified with rich, dark malts (think: barleywines, Belgian ales, barrel-aged brews, imperials, doubles, and other burly beers), and they’re available en masse now. Find and (eventually) imbibe these local seasonals and new releases ready to hit the pillow for a spell—or however long you can fight the urge to uncap them. Patience is a virtue, people.
Sleeping Beauty: Berkley Belgian Style Triple
Style: Abbey Tripel
This rotating brew from Berkley Beer in Mass is made with local honey and comes already aged in rye whiskey barrels for four months. Let this one rest for a few months and you’ll find that the booze softens, making the beer incredibly smooth. Grab a bottle, lock, and key.
Sleeping Beauty: Jack’s Abby Bride Maker
Style: Lager Wine
Named to honor the nuptials of several Jack’s Abby Brewing staffers, this is the Mass-based brewery’s second take on a barrel-aged lager wine. Aged in bourbon barrels, the October release’s mega ABV and dark malts make it the perfect candidate for a long nap in the cellar.
Sleeping Beauty: Harpoon Tuscan Pool Party
Style: Fruit Beer
The recent release in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series, number 52, pays homage to an employee-only trip to Italy that led to collaboration with Birrificio L’Olmaia, a brewery in Montepulciano. Aged on oak spirals and brewed with a balance of juicy hops and sweet Sangiovese and Merlot grape juice, the ale, if matured just a little longer, might grow a mustache.
Sleeping Beauty: Backlash Beer Vandal
Style: Double IPA
This limited release by Mass’s Backlash Beer is in celebration of their third-year anniversary. It’s brewed with three different varieties of hops. The big IPA will likely lose some of its hops-forwardness over time, but the caramel malt will start to shine through.
Sleeping Beauty: White Birch Ol’ Cattywhompus
Style: English Barleywine
Brewed by New Hampshire’s White Birch Brewing, this English barleywine has two key aging ingredients: a high ABV and darker grains. After a couple years, the hops will likely recede and the suds will take on sweeter sherry-like flavors. Don’t get confused, it’s still beer.