Ale Asylum is one of the top local brands for craft beer connoisseurs in town. This year, they’re pulling even more tricks out of their sleeves to excite beer lovers everywhere.

The local craft brewer is rolling out several new programs in 2016, including an extensive barrel-aged beer program and a mysterious pilot batch list.

“This year will be the 10th anniversary for our company,” Hathaway Dilba, director of promotions for Ale Asylum, said. “We’re excited to have some special beers coming out this year.”

Ale Asylum will highlight the fascinating process of barrel aging beer, which consists of a batch of beer sitting in a barrel of a particular type of liquor or wine until it absorbs some of the other drink’s properties.

Dilba says that current head brewmaster Dean Coffey hasn’t always been known for experimenting with out-of-the box styles of beer — but that is changing.

“Dean is known for being a style purist,” Dilba said. “When our loyal customers found out about these barrel-aged beers we’ve got planned, they were kind of surprised. But this is all about innovation, and we’re really excited for it.”

There will be six different beers in the barrel-aged program at the Asylum’s facilities. Two of these beers, Impending Dissent and Impending Descent, are both Imperial Stouts, but they are only similar in style.

Dissent is made with yeast strains associated with Belgian beers during fermentation, and will age in a rum barrel. Descent, on the other hand, is made with yeast strains found in British style beers, and will age in a bourbon barrel.

The four other beers in the program are vastly different from each other. Mercy, a Grand Cru-style beer currently in the company’s seasonal rotation, will feature some batches aging in tequila barrels.

Diablo Belga, a Belgian-style Dubbel that will be featured from March until May, will have batches aging in rum barrels. And KINK, a Belgian-style Abbey, will age in Chardonnay barrels.

Finally, Ale Asylum is bringing back their Sticky McDoogle Scotch Ale, which will feature some batches aged in Bourbon barrels.

“McDoogle hasn’t been on the market in three years,” Dilba said. “While it’s never been one of our highest-selling seasonals, we have a lot of customers who have said they’re really excited for it to come back.”

In addition to a new barrel-aged program, a pilot batch program is also rolling out. According to Dilba, different hop and malt varieties will be combined to make different variations of IPAs and Belgian Pale Ales. These beers, while nameless now, could pop up in new seasonals down the road.

It’s an exciting year over at Ale Asylum, and there is no doubt 2016 features a phenomenal lineup. Ale Asylum recently brought back their Velveteen Habit, a popular seasonal IPA. I decided to review it for this week.

Velveteen Habit, Ale Asylum

Style

American IPA, 7.5% ABV

Aroma

Strong citrus hop smell along with a slight piney aroma

Appearance

Copper with a white head

Taste

Hops come through full, whereas the bitterness is definitely apparent, but smooth for a great finish

Room Temperature Taste

Bitterness bites a little harder, but still a great taste

Consensus

A solid IPA. There’s a reason this is a big seasonal seller for Ale Asylum. IPA’s are everywhere, but these guys know how to draw you in.

Rating: 4.25/5