The hot weather has held on for way too long, but still we have managed to sneak a few barrel aged specialties into the rotation. Helping to fight the “dark and thick” component is a few barrel aged beers that aren’t stouts.
Lobo Amarillo – Alameda Brewing (Tequila Barrel Aged DIPA) – Starting with a non-stout is this interesting offering from Alameda. This is a tequila barrel aged version of their Yellow Wolf Double IPA. This beer packs a punch! Very strong tequila character, hints of lime and salt that I started to wonder were added, or were just my imagination, but basically tastes almost like a margarita or just a straight tequila shot. The hops get covered up, so it loses a lot of it’s IPA character, but it’s still enjoyable. (4.0 of 5 stars)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Spitfire – Santiam Brewing – This one was from the Salem Mini Tour, the barrel aged version of their English Amber. It still had a good malty character of the amber, but with hints of vanilla and coconut from the oak and good bourbon flavor. (4.75 of 5)
Spiced Apple Porter – Oakshire Brewing – So this is another Inception style beer with many layers. So, a cider company aged a cider in a bourbon barrel. Then they gave that barrel to Oakshire. So the “Cider barrel” started life as a bourbon barrel. We have a sweet vanilla and cinnamon aroma with hints of apple and some good bourbon notes. The flavor is slightly roasty with apple, cinnamon and oak notes. To be perfectly honest, the base porter gets completely lost within the layers of bourbon and spiced cider, but it makes a good canvas for a delicious beer. (4.75 of 5)
Hellshire VII (BBA Russian Imperial Stout) – Oakshire Brewing – This is a massive beer, clocking in at 13.75% alcohol. Huge bourbon character, lots of vanilla. Super smooth with no alcohol burn, this beer could get very dangerous. Some dark coffee-like roast came out as it warmed. Simply phenomenal. (4.75 of 5)
Bomb! – Prairie Artisan Ales (Bourbon Barrel Stout) – You know you have good friends when someone decides to share a major tick like this. My buddy broke this out on his birthday, as well he should, but also decided to pour it around. The bottle says coffee, chocolate and ancho chiles. I don’t get the heat (which is fine with me) but the chocolate and coffee shine through. Rich and decadent, but also surprisingly drinkable for 13%. A 2 oz pour was plenty, but it could be dangerous in larger quantities. (4.75 of 5)
Helldorado – Firestone Walker Brewing – I got to try this one at the Proper Pint grand opening. Firestone Walker bills this as a Blond Barleywine. I described it to my friend at the Grand Opening as a “Bourbon Barrel Aged Triple IPA”. The logic was this; triple IPA is a nonsense style but, some people do use it for big 11-12% hoppy beers like Boneyard’s Notorious. Once you get into 12% alcohol and 100 IBU you’re in American Barleywine territory, but with a lighter color and a focus on El Dorado hops, this one leaned more IPA to me, even in the fictional sense. Whatever you want to call it, it’s damn tasty. (4.75 of 5)