Can't decide whether to have a beer or a bourbon? No problem. This ale from Lexington Brewing Company is the best of both worlds.
Beer Details: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Lexington Brewing Company, Lexington, Kentucky. (Barrel-aged ale, 8.19% ABV)
Appearance: Clear coppery-gold ale with a thin head of parchment-colored foam. Lots of tiny bubbles stream up the sides of the glass.
Aroma: All bourbon, all the time. The aroma is thick and boozy with wave after wave of oak, vanilla, and caramel. It smells like something you want to dip a spoon into and lick clean.
Taste: There's a very quick shot of earthy bitterness upfront, and then the beer smooths out into more heady bourbon flavors. A deep caramel sauce maltiness bordering on milk chocolate glides over the tongue, leaving behind lingering flavors of vanilla, damp wood, and grain. It's creamy and silky smooth, sip after sip. The alcohol will also definitely keep you warm on a cold night.
For all of this, the beer finishes surprisingly clean. While its definitely sweet, there's none of the stickiness or cloying sugars that barrel aged beers sometimes pick up. We also appreciate the uniqueness of this beer; you don't see many amber ales aged in oak barrels. Most brewers save this for their porters and barleywines. But this one Lexington Brewery feels like a true merging of a beer with good-quality bourbon.
Food Pairing: This beer was made to go with dessert. Try it with a bowl of stewed stone fruit with a drizzle of chocolate sauce on top.
Have you tried this beer? What do you think of it?
Related: Barrel-Aged Beers: Loving or Hating?
(Image: Emma Christensen)