Strong BA Series | Four Saints Impending Grace
Without question, 2020 has been one of the wildest years in human memory. With world-shaping events happening (it seems) almost every day, and the constant, grating drip of catastrophe from the news, one is always on the lookout for reprieve, for some sort of grace.
Those of us in the beer world need to look no further than Four Saints Brewing out of Asheboro, North Carolina. They bottle the sort of Impending Grace we need in these troubled times, in the form of their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout of the same name
Even before seeing the can art, the name grabs your attention. Playing off the relatively distinct phrase “impending doom”, Four Saints’ Impending Grace sticks in the mind. It channels the same impressions of gravity and imminence as doom but without all the hellfire and brimstone. If nothing else, it’s good marketing. But there must be more to it, right? To be certain, I reached out to Four Saints Co-Owner and CEO, Joel McClosky, for his take. His response was refreshingly candid and surprisingly personal, so I’ve included a paraphrased version below.
“It started as a celebration of my daughter’s coming birth. Imperial Stouts were my go-to style at the time, so I worked with my co-owner and head brewer, Andrew Deming, to develop a recipe. What resulted was Impending Grace. We named it for my daughter, whose middle name was Grace, and whose first name was given for her great-grandmother, who herself was full of grace.”
The experience embodies what I’ve come to expect from Imperial Stouts. It pours not-quite-black with mocha-colored foam. It smells of bourbon, booze, and vanilla. And it tastes like espresso infused with alcohol, poured over charred oak, and spiked with dark cocoa — not chocolate, cocoa. Four Saints also added local honey to the mix. “For two reasons,” McClosky said, “One, to balance out the brazen bitterness common to Imperial Stouts, and two, to feed the yeast to get that ABV into the double-digits.” The final concoction is a strong, flavorful stout that leaves you feeling warm and welcome.
In terms of availability, Four Saints appears to distribute pretty widely in North Carolina, and maybe into the surrounding states, so you locals stand a good chance of finding them. If not the BBA Impending Grace, then maybe one of their regular seasonals like the Saint Nicholas Winter Ale, or one of the mainstays like the Caramel Quad or the Belgian Stout. Whatever you find, I expect you’ll be pleased. Four Saints puts a lot of themselves into their work, and it shows.