We just published two articles about an amazing spicy wood from South America. One is the main introduction to this curious spicy wood traditionally used to age artisan cachaça in Brazil — at CraftBeer.com, here: https://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/american-brewers-fall-for-brazils-spicy-amburana-wood
The second story is a Beer Currents special, where we talk about some of the stories behind the story on our own site. More from Brazilian brewers. More anecdotes. More forest science and beer politics. https://beercurrents.com/2019/07/11/craft-beer-secrets-from-brazil-a-tree-called-amburana/
But what about the Bay Area angle – the reason to put this up here with local info at Beer By BART, too? For one, Dick Cantwell, owner at Magnolia Brewing and co-author of the book on brewing with wood, is one of the American brewers who is experimenting with this wood. So far, he has used wood chips rather than barrels, a familiar way to play with wood flavors in small volumes. Watch for this ingredient at Magnolia.
And another tip: San Francisco’s Pete “Wicked Ale” Slosberg, noted in the CraftBeer.com piece for his many trips to South American in support of the craft down there, gifted some Amburana chips to Arne Johnson of Marin Brewing Co. So far as we know, those glorious chips are still awaiting the proper moment when they will appear in a special cask or perhaps a big batch that shows up on draft. Keep your flavor radar on!