Bourbon barrel aged maple syrup? That’s a thing? Yes, it is. Thanks to Bree Breckel and Eric Weninger of B&E’s Trees. They produce delicious certified organic maple syrup on their maple farm just south of Cashton, Wisconsin and age it in charred oak bourbon barrels for a year at the Food Enterprise Center in Viroqua. This past winter, we began carrying their bourbon barrel aged maple syrup at VFC. Since this product has a much larger story than can fit on their bottle, we would like to shed some light on this wonderful new local producer.
Bree and Eric met at the 2010 Earth Day in La Crosse. The duo soon grew close over their shared love of riding and fixing motorcycles, going on adventures, and dreaming of starting a farm. In October 2011, their collective dream became a reality when they purchased a chunk of mature maple forest south of Cashton, Wisconsin.
The first few years of farming were a crash course in maple production. Bree and Eric installed maple collection lines and tanks on 64 acres and sold their bulk syrup to a local bottler, Maple Valley Cooperative. The couple dreamed of adding value to their maple syrup in some way and selling it direct to customers and retail locations.
B&E had a big break when a friend struck up a conversation about maple syrup with Paul Graham, owner of Central Waters Brewing Company, at the 2013 MREA Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin. Together they cooked up a plan for Central Waters to loan B&E bourbon barrels to age maple syrup in. Once the syrup came out of the barrels, Central Waters got them back and filled them with an imperial stout. Over the course of the next two years, B&E’s and Central Waters unique and tasty partnership germinated and took root. In the fall on 2015, B&E’s released their first bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, and Central Waters plans to release their Maple Barrel Stout (aged in the maple soaked bourbon barrels) sometime in late 2016.
B&E’s Trees Bourbon Barrel Aged maple syrup is truly intoxicating culinary concoction (although it contains no alcohol). It is a delicious mix of bourbon, smoky vanilla and delicious maple syrup. It is fantastic on pancakes, mixed drinks, or by itself. It makes a perfect gift for a birthday or the holidays for any foodie in your life.
The future is bright for Bree and Eric. They are looking forward to adding acreage to their maple syrup operation this coming fall and winter in hopes of being able to age even more maple syrup in bourbon barrels so that customers around the Midwest can enjoy.
Have you had B&E’s Trees Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup? Stop by the VFC and pick some up today. When you purchase Bree and Eric’s bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, you are supporting first generation farmers who are committed to sustainable and organic farming. We sell their maple syrup in two sizes: 8oz and 1.7oz tasters. Learn more about them and find recipes at: www.bandestrees.com