Columbia craft brewery Bur Oak will debut a new beer in mid-March: the Big Tree IPA, a product inspired by Boone County’s famous 350-year-old bur oak tree that gave the brewery its name.
Bur Oak— the brewery, not the tree— will formally introduce the beer at a release party March 14. The $10 ticket price entitles guests to two complimentary Bur Oak beers.
The new brew takes very literal specifications from the Big Tree, which is located south of Columbia, near McBaine. The Big Tree is 7.6 feet in diameter; the Big Tree IPA is 7.6% alcohol-by-volume. The Big Tree is 90 feet tall; the Big Tree IPA has 90 International Bitterness Units (the IBU scale goes from zero to 100).
The limited initial release of the Big Tree will be available on draft-only in local restaurants and bars. Bur Oak president Craig Stichter said that the beer could be made permanently available if the initial test run goes well.
“A lot of our beers are not high-gravity beers,” Stichter said, “So we wanted to make a heavier beer, and we wanted to find a beer that fit us. That ended up being a double IPA.”
Bur Oak employed a similar limited-release approach with their Lily Ale, which was released in September. Stichter said the Lily Ale could re-enter the market this summer, after a positive reaction last fall.
Stichter described the Big Tree as a mellow character, hop-forward beer. It is heavier and bitterer than Bur Oak’s staple Devine IPA, one of three beers the company has brewed since founding.
“Sometimes you just want a bigger, bolder flavor,” Stichter said. “But hopefully the Bur Oak isn’t like the little brother that grows up too fast and ticks off the big brother, the Devine IPA.”
The brewery made a Facebook event to RSVP for the release party, and a link is available on the Bur Oak website.