Barrel Culture opened their doors back in 2017 in southern Durham, North Carolina. The brewery is equidistant from both Duke and UNC (11 miles away from both), so it’d make a great neutral site to meet for a brew, should you support either of those teams.
Since their inception, they have grown enough to open a second location on Raleigh’s north side that’s about 20 miles away from the original facility.
They began as a “100% oak fermented, fruit driven, mixed fermentation” brewery and still produce a slew of wild ales and sours. However, like almost all breweries these days, they had to diversify and also brew IPAs, stouts, and everything in between.
While I would have loved to try one of their wild ales, I was only able to get my hands on one of their IPAs - Daze.
Daze is a hazy IPA with a solid 8.6% ABV. This variation was brewed with Rakau and Sultana hops and on their website you can buy four 16-ounce cans for $18. Mine was canned on February 26th and was reviewed on April 27th.
This IPA poured an incredibly cloudy and murky golden straw color with just about two fingers of airy, yet dense, head topping the beer. The off-white foam slowly fizzled away and left a moderate amount of lacing as it dropped down.
On the nose this beer was light and juicy. It smelled mostly of fresh oranges but had notes of pineapple, melon, lemon, and grapefruit that sat underneath the orange. The grains that backed up the hops gave off a light flaked wheat aroma that added just a touch of cereal-like sweetness to the brew as well.
My first sip started with a very mild carbonation fizzle with the hops hitting almost immediately. Right off the bat there was a slight bitter twinge that hit the middle of my tongue and sat there for a few moments. Luckily the fruit flavors quickly appeared and did their best to mute the hoppy bite.
As the aroma had foretold, the main flavors appearing up front were orange and pineapple. There was also a bit of grapefruit rind that would appear from time to time but remained secondary to the sweeter and juicier orange characteristic.
I was expecting the juiciness to last throughout the entire sip but that was not the case. While the citrus/fruits lead off the sip, around the midway point the hops shift their flavors. The backend saw more earthy notes of grass, black pepper spice, and some light onion. It was quite the change from the scent and first half of the sip.
Right before the flavors all began to disappear, there was one final burst of juice. A soft and pillowy wave of orange and honeydew melon washed across my taste buds before everything finally succumbed.
That final rush of fruit coated my tongue with a light resin which led to Daze ending a bit sticky and on the drier side.
As I continued to drink, that initial bitter bite faded more and more and, by the midway point of the pint, it was completely gone.
Overall, I was expecting a more juicy brew throughout. However, I still really enjoyed Daze. The beer really shows off the wide range of flavors you can get from Rakau and Sultana hops and the 8.6% ABV is hidden really, really well.
Sure, it’s a bit sticky and dry on the finish and not as juicy as I was expecting...but, all in all, it’s a really tasty brew.