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Cigar City Brewing barrels used to age Siesta Key Rum in Sarasota

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Beers aged in spirits barrels are a hot thing now. But how about aging spirits in beer barrels?

Drum Circle Distilling, the Sarasota maker of Siesta Key Rum, is doing just that, thanks to a partnership with Tampa craft brewery Cigar City Brewing.

Drum Circle Distilling beer barrel rum, aged in barrels from Tampa's Cigar City. (Staff photo / Alan Shaw)

Drum Circle Distilling beer barrel rum, aged in barrels from Tampa's Cigar City. (Staff photo / Alan Shaw)

Troy Roberts, Drum Circle's CEO and distiller, is aging some spiced rum in a few barrels that previously housed Cigar City's Forgotten Island, a 15 percent alcohol Belgian-style ale (the strongest beer Cigar City has made, according to brewmaster Wayne Wambles). Roberts said he's unaware of any other rum made this way.

Roberts wasn't sure what the rum would be like, but said it turned out really well. He said he plans to sell the rum from his distillery's tasting room, but has bigger plans.

Siesta Key spiced rum aging in barrel from Cigar City Brewing. (Staff photo / Alan Shaw)

Siesta Key spiced rum aging in barrel from Cigar City Brewing. (Staff photo / Alan Shaw)

"I think it's something we can scale up," he said. He'd like to get it into distribution, because of the limits on what he can sell from his distillery. (Each person can only buy two bottles per year on site.)

The beer barrel rum was a big hit with the members of the tour I joined Thursday. I got to sample a nip. I'm a beer guy, so straight rum is quite a change for me. Roberts said the Cigar City barrel mellows the spice flavor and brings out the flavors of honey used in the rum. I could certainly taste the honey.

The barrels didn't start at Cigar City. They were first used to age Jack Daniel's whiskey, then aged Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum before heading to the Tampa brewery.

The Florida circle will complete when Roberts sends them back to Tampa, where Cigar City will age beer in them again. Wambles wrote in an email that he doesn't have plans yet for the barrels when they return. I'm sure whatever the beer is, it will be interesting.

 

 

 

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Alan Shaw

Alan Shaw has been a fan of craft beer for nearly two decades. He is partial to hops and has been an editor at the Herald-Tribune since 1997. He can be reached at (941) 361-4914, by email or mail at 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. Follow him at @alancshaw on Twitter and on Facebook.
Last modified: January 10, 2014
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