The Craft Corner

New Belgium and Knob Creek Introduce Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale

New Belgium Brewing and Knob Creek® Bourbon are proud to announce the launch of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale, a 9 percent ABV, special collaboration featuring breakthrough technology to create an entirely new style of bourbon barrel ale. Bringing together Knob Creek and New Belgium’s shared passion for innovation and dedication to hard-earned flavor, Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale is a highly-drinkable bourbon-inspired ale which uses Knob Creek Bourbon-soaked oak spirals and barrel char to impart big, full flavor into New Belgium’s high rye base ale.

“We could have simply barrel-aged some ale, or rested beer on barrel staves, but that wouldn’t have given us the amazing freshness and flavor of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale,” said Ross Koenigs, Research and Development Brewer at New Belgium.

“Our Brewhouse team likes to say that we didn’t just develop a custom extraction technology, but rather, a beer-flavoring ‘missile,’ and we’re thrilled to present our newest, innovative venture with the launch of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale.”


To bring this new offering to life, New Belgium’s engineers created a steel, missile-shaped vessel to provide a delivery system where Knob Creek Bourbon-soaked oak spirals and char from used Knob Creek Bourbon barrels mingled with – and added robust flavors to – New Belgium’s high rye ale. This three-part flavor extraction process first included the harvesting of barrel char – the caramelized wood sugars, which contribute sweet brown sugar and caramel notes to the beer – from used Knob Creek barrels. Rounding out the bourbon character in the beer are the Knob Creek Bourbon-soaked oak spirals, which were toasted in varying degrees and added in a custom blend to infuse secondary flavors of oak and spice into the liquid. The custom steel, missile-shaped vessel itself contained the bourbon-soaked spirals and barrel char so they could flavor the beer as it matured. The result is a beautiful, full-flavored amber bourbon ale with notes of caramel, vanilla and toasted oak.


Both founded just over 25 years ago, Knob Creek Bourbon and New Belgium are largely credited with pioneering the small batch movements in their respective industries, introducing the world to full-flavored liquids born of premium ingredients and traditions. Both have remained true to those founding principles since their introduction.

“My dad, Booker Noe, created Knob Creek Bourbon more than 25 years ago to restore the standards of what great bourbon ought to be – full of big flavor, and crafted with patience and hard work,” said Fred Noe, Beam Family Seventh Generation Master Distiller. “I’m thrilled to introduce this newest innovation in partnership with our friends at New Belgium, and to bring together the best of our hard work, dedication to big flavor and shared love of innovation, with the introduction of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale. I hope bourbon and beer drinkers alike will have the opportunity to enjoy our latest offering.”

Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale was brewed and bottled with the following characteristics: 

  • ABV:9%
  • IBU:20
  • Yeast:Ale
  • Hops:Nugget, HBC 472
  • Malts:Pale, Munich, Caramel 80, Rye, Roasted Barley
  • Special Ingredients: Knob Creek Bourbon soaked oak spirals and char from used Knob Creek bourbon barrels
  • Availability: Nationwide in mid-September 2018 in both 12 oz. bottles and on draft, while supplies last 

For more information about Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale, visit www.newbelgium.comor www.knobcreek.com.

Leave a Comment