After my trip to Kentucky in 2009, I've fallen in love with beer that has been aged in bourbon barrels. While I'm not a huge fan of bourbon straight up, I do like bourbon sauces, bourbon balls, and other bourbon treats - like beer!
Being aged in a barrel softens most beers, and being aged in a bourbon barrel gives hints of the bourbon, along with accenting the natural malt flavor of beer.
My favorite bourbon aged beer is made by Kentucky Ale, both an ale and a stout are available. Unfortunately, it is not available outside of the tri-state area, so I can only get my hands on it by either visiting Kentucky, or begging a friend visiting the area to bring me back a four pack. [hint: if you're planning a visit to KY soon, please leave room for some of this beer for me :-) ]
Fortunately for me, aging in bourbon barrels is becoming more trendy, so I can get some out here on the west coast.
I recently got my hands on a couple of bourbon beers and did a sampling with some friends, who also contributed a nice Firestone Walker porter to share.
We started with the Dogfather's Bourbon Barrel stout - a strong beer. Unfortunately for this batch, it wasn't hints of bourbon, but more like someone had added a shot of bourbon to the bottle before the cap went on. The bourbon aroma overpowered the coffee overtones in the beer and it was a bit too strong for my liking. It was still a really good beer, and so close to being great. We should've had this heavy beer last. (11% ABV)
Next up was the Widmer Brother's Reserve Barrel-Aged Brrrbon, which was just a nice regular amber brew that had spent a perfect amount of time in a bourbon barrel. I originally mistook this for a stout because it seems that out here on the west coast, brewers only make bourbon barrel stouts. Lucky for us, this was a very drinkable beer with hints of caramel and bourbon. I'll have to get a couple more bottles of this! (9.4% ABV)
We finished with the Firestone Walker's Reserve porter, which was dark in colour, yet surprisingly light tasting - we could've actually started with that one! I love all Firestone Walker's beers - always tasty, unique and full flavored. (ABV 5.9%)
I know Full Sail just released a bourbon barrel stout, which I still need to get my hands on. Any of you have a favorite bourbon barrel beer? and where can I get them? :-)
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