Have I mentioned that football season is my favorite time of year? Nothing brings back my memories of college football games like the smell of bourbon. While I am certainly a beer lover by any definition, I am also a bourbon fan. I’m not your garden variety bourbon fan either – I am a proud card carrying Senior Ambassador for Maker’s Mark.
Anytime a genius brewmaster concocts a bourbon/beer combination, I am going to give it a try. So far, I have not been disappointed. My favorite bourbon beer currently is the Brick Mason Ale from Red Brick Brewing in Atlanta. I’ll write a review later this fall for you, my constant reader.
A while back I came across bourbon barrel stout from two different brewers, so I picked them up and have been saving them for a comparative review. There’s no time like the present, so here we go!
First up is Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) in Louisville, KY. Clocking in at 8.6% ABV, this is not designed for chugging. Poured into a goblet, this stout is black with a creamy, tan head that disappears at a moderate rate. You immediately notice the aroma of bourbon, with hints of chocolate in the background. The mouthfeel is thinner than I expected for a stout, but it wasn’t unpleasant. This beer tastes quite nice – the bourbon is present but not overpowering. As you would expect from the aroma, there is a chocolaty taste behind the bourbon that is delicious. I would call this a good dessert beer, especially after a steak dinner.
Now we move on to Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout (KBB). At 8.0% ABV, this beer is not a lightweight either. KBB pours black and has a beautiful creamy tan head that persists just a tad longer than the BBC offering. The bourbon aroma is present, but it doesn’t smell quite as sweet. The mouthfeel is also thin for a stout, but just a bit thicker than BBC. You certainly get a taste of bourbon with each sip, but rather than a chocolate background, KBB offers a slightly less sweet flavor that is more coffee like.
Once (twice?) again, I have enjoyed the bourbon/beer marriage. These beers are both quite tasty and I would drink either one again in a heartbeat. If your palate is more comfortable on the sweeter side, choose the BBC stout. If you are more of a hoppy, bitter finish fan, the KBB is the one for you. Either way, you can’t go wrong!