Lexington Brewing Company Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
Lexington Brewing Company’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout – (8.0% ABV)
A snow day has allotted me the time to bring you another beer review this week (lucky you). And, as optimism amongst most writers on and readers of this blog spikes about the impending Spring, my job, nay, my duty is to drudge everyone back down into the pragmatic and dark depths of Winter. So hold your daylight savings horses one minute, while the white still blankets the ground because the only green I see on the horizon is that of St. Patty and his drunken band of rabble rousers. What does all of this mean? It is only quarter to Spring and we still have a good fifteen minutes of darkness before the wheats inundate our gustatory cells and leave those forlorn Bocks, Stouts, and Porters to hibernate for the summer.
Today, I have tried the latest from Alltec’s Lexington Brewing Company, Kentucky Ale Bourbon Barrel Stout. Known for their Kentucky Ale, Kentucky Ale Light, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, the Bourbon Barrel Stout expands their catalogue in an area where they should excel – bourbon barrel-aged beers.
If the Cincy Winter Beerfest (see posts reviewing the fest here) opened my eyes to the fact that bourbon and whiskey-aged beers are hip right now. Everyone seems to be trying their hand at barrel aging to pick up new flavors, notes, and hints, that provide a more complex product (or at least something that tastes “new”) to the beer enthusiast.
At first sip, this one tastes like coffee, which may be due to the fact that it is both brewed with and aged with Haitian coffee (fair trade and organic, of course). Many bourbon barrel stouts take on the characteristics of the bourbon as much as the stout. This one does not. It maintains the bold coffee, subtle vanilla, and roasted grain taste with only a smidge of bourbon from its aging home. The nose indicates as much too, as the smell of central Kentucky’s (that would also be the World’s finest) bourbons fade to merely a background member in this complex beer’s entourage of a bouquet.
If it the bourbon smell, the bourbon taste, and the bourbon experience you want then drink bourbon…central Kentucky has plenty of it. What Lexington Brewing Company has done instead, is hang their proverbial hat on making another fantastic beer that doesn’t need the word “bourbon” in the name to sell bottles. I will now go James Taylor on you with a little ODE to our soon forgotten friend: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, I will be dabbling in stouts. And I am sad to see this season go only because it means that after March 17 people will begin to forget their opaque companion that got them through the long and dreary Winter. No matter the season, a stout (especially this one) will make you smile…like a good friend should. Sorry it didn’t rhyme.