Friday, February 4, 2011

Bourbon Barrel Beer, hard to find!

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? :-)