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Yardley Brothers, Barrel-aged beer in hong kong
Photograph: Gaz Jones

Yardley Brothers releases their new barrel-aged beer series called Bugs!

The Kwai Hing brewery also opens its new barrel room housing 65 barrels from all over the world

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Written by
Tatum Ancheta
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Hong Kong brewery Yardley Brothers is officially launching their barrel-ageing programme with the opening of the brewery’s new barrel room and the release of their new barrel-aged sour ale series named Bugs! The brewery first released its barrel-aged beer in 2018. Since then, they have expanded their barrel collection to 65 barrels (one of the biggest barrel-ageing programmes in Hong Kong) from around the world that includes Canadian maple syrup barrels to French Chardonnay casks. Barrel-aged beers are some of the best beers in the market today. Like wine and spirits, ageing in wood casks adds complexity to the beer, and thanks to what has previously been in the barrel, it imparts a unique character to the brew. 

Yardley Brothers’s new barrel room houses 65 barrels from all over the world

"The barrel-ageing programme is a passion project of mine and the next evolution of Yardley Brothers since our humble beginning in 2016," says Yardley. "Our creative team has had a lot of fun with Bugs!, an idea we had to craft a series of specialty beers while also telling the story of the various wild yeasts and bacteria (bugs) used in the souring process to achieve the best, most exciting beer possible. It is a great tasting beer and somewhat of a conversation starter," he adds. 

Yardley Brothers's first barrel-aged release under the Bugs! series is a wheat sour called Bourbon Marmalade ($78 for 375ml; $432 for a six-pack). The brew comes in a sexy long neck bottle – designed by Kyle Christensen – which makes the product look sophisticated but bears a green bug graphic that shows the brand's playfulness. The beer is aged for eight months in a Jim Beam bourbon whiskey barrel added with citrus peel. It uses souring bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Brettanomyces – hence the name 'bugs' – developed by the Yardley Brothers team lead by owner Luke Yardley. The result (ABV 7%) has an aroma and taste that will remind you of a honeyed whisky sour, with hints of vanilla, subtle bourbon warmth, and a hint of oak. You can drink it chilled and straight from the bottle or pair it with a savoury dish – the sourness helps clear the palate and its honeyed sweetness definitely whets the appetite. 

Yardley Brothers's team

There are only 1,000 bottles of the Bourbon Marmalade 2020 vintage out now in the market, so make sure to try one while it lasts. Get a bottle today at yardleybrothers.hk, or head to Au My Beer, GurBeer, 99 Bottles, Cave Beer Point, The Globe (draft only), The Beer Shack, HK Brewcraft, The Kappening, Secret Bottle, MoonLife, City'super, Angry Beer, and Craftissimo. Currently, Yardley Brothers is already ageing more brews in oak barrels, so keep your eyes peeled for more releases. Visit Yardley Brothers Beer for news and more information. 

Those interested to learn more about Yardley Brothers's barrel-ageing programme and see the new barrel room at the Kwai Hing brewery can book for a brewery tour every last Friday of the month. Tours are available for $300 per person, which include a two-hour unlimited tasting. Catch the last booking this month on April 30. Reserve your slot by emailing beer@yardleybrothers.hk.

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