‘Tis that glorious time of year when we get to drink big, dank-ass stouts. These slow sippin’ beers are fantastic when the weather outside is frightful, makin’ your insides so delightful. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve had the pleasure of trying thus far this year…..
Firestone Walker’s Double DBA
This beer is hands down one of the best things I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. If you ever get the opportunity to buy this beer, do so immediately as its retired now and sadly enough no longer being produced. It’s an Imperial Special Bitter aged in Oak Barrels. It had wonderful notes of toffee, caramel, coconut, and vanilla, but it isn’t sickly sweet. I shared this beer with a local commercial brewer, hoping to inspire him to make something similar someday.
Galena Brewing Company’s Mad Monk
This was a gift given to me from a gentleman who works for one of the companies that distributes Galena Brewing’s beer. I was highly impressed by this limited reserve beer. Nicely balanced despite the bigness of the beer, warming but not boozey, with just the right amount of sweetness for the style. Galena Brewing Company has impressed me a few times this past year, I think I’m going to have to visit there soon.
Central Waters’ Anniversary Edition
Central Waters does fantastic things with barrels. Their barrel-aged scotch ale is also delicious. The same distributor friend of mine gave me this one as well to try and it was wonderful, a bit hot so would age quite nicely but still very much tastey and drinkable fresh.
Revolution’s Deth’s Tar
This is a beer I will chase. I normally don’t do such a thing however this beer is amazing. This year’s needs a bit of age on it, but I recently had the pleasure of sharing one from last year and it was just so smooth. Revolution’s Bean Gene in the Deep Woods Series is also pretty money.
Bourbon County. Of Course.
Yes, yes, we all know Bourbon County is awesome. Yes, yes, we all know you’ve waited in line and seen your score pics and love all the reserve series. I honestly never cared much about the BC hype, I’d take some if it crossed my path, usually to stash in the cellar until a trade or a holiday came my way, until I went to FOBAB 2015.
Festival of Barrel Aged Beer – 2015
FOBAB is an annual event held in Chicago, it was November 20-21st this year. I had a ticket to go to one of the 3 time slots, on Saturday from 6-10pm. Overall I had a great time and had some amazing beers (as well as some awful ones….not everyone can just throw Brettanomyces in a brew, call it sour AND call it good) but I do have two complaints. One, the line was slow moving to the point where we missed the first 45 minutes of the festival, that’s garbage. I paid for 4 hours, I want 4 hours. Second, by the time we got inside, they had run out of glassware and programs. Also garbage. You know how many tickets you sold, to a festival you’ve put on before, how the hell do you run out of glasses and programs?
One thing I did take away from the day is a whole new level of respect for the girls and boys in the Bourbon Country barrel-aging program. The picture below is one of two lines we got to through and try so many different Bourbon County’s….my favorite was the Vanilla Rye, this also will become a beer I chase. The coffee is always delicious and I loved both the 2014 and 2015 Proprietor’s. I also believe I will attend this event every year for the sake of trying all this Bourbon County out there without having to jump through a lot of hoops for it.
Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin
That about covers what I’ve loved thus far in 2015, we still have a lot of winter to go and beer flying at us a mile a minute, so I’m sure there will be additions to this list. One beer I know I have every year with my REB family at Christmas time is the Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin. You’ve got to put a least a year age on this beer, the wait is worth the return.