A few summers ago, Hermitage Brewing Company‘s head brewer Greg Filippi poured a batch of his flagship coffee-black stout into freshly dumped barrels of Kentucky bourbon. He then tucked the oaken vessels away in a cellar corner to let the osmosis transpire.

Vanilla-rich whiskey crept from the used wood casks into the malty dulcet of Hermitage’s signature 2-Tun Imperial Stout, putting a bold spin on one of the San Jose brewery’s perennial favorites.

“It has a very solid bourbon whiskey character to it,” says Filippi, who deemed the limited-release brew “fucking awesome” in his written notes after the first tapping. “It’s in the aroma, which completely floods the palate when you drink it. That chocolate lingers in the -finish, dancing with the sweet bourbon in perfect form, the way only years together can produce.”

The batch of single bourbon barrel-aged 2-Tun will be available starting today after tappings at Hermitage in San Jose and Tied House in Mountain View. But with only 40 gallons made, this particular barrel-aged brew will see a very limited run.

“Two-Tun is a big strong malty high-alcohol beer that’s really just perfect for putting in a barrel and aging for a long time,” says Filippi, who suggests pairing it with a medium-rare porterhouse steak and a nice cigar.

The new chef at Tied House—David Porter, formerly of Marche in Palo Alto—will pair the special edition 2-Tun with a new entree. The Poulet Bonne Femme: free-range chicken with pearl onions, house-smoked bacon, smashed potatoes and sauce veloute ($18.95).

“It’s one of several new menu items,” says Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez, spokeswoman for Hermitage and Tied House. “He’s working to revamp our menu while keeping true to our laid back roots.”

She called the bourbon-aged 2-Tun “a truly rare, special beer,” and a fitting complement for the restaurant’s reinvented culinary offerings.

A growing number of beer makers are buying old barrels that held not just whiskey, but wine, brandy and rum. Residual vim and microflora change the character of a brew, imbuing porters and stouts with layers of flavor—over-and undertones of tart, tannic, sweet, spiced, vanilla. Barrel aging can also soften a brew’s finish over time, which lends well to food pairings.

Filippi says he keeps a steady stock of barrel-aged brews, spacing out tappings to showcase each limited-run batch.’

Tapping at Hermitage, 4pm Wednesday, 1627 S. Seventh St., San Jose.

Tapping at Tied House, 11:30am Wednesday, 954 Villa St., Mountain View.