Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Beers and Five Examples of the Style

It's Whiskey Week here in Chicago!  In celebration, I have posted a piece at Foodies about bourbon barrel-aged beers.  The piece discusses the benefits of and excitement surrounding bourbon barrel-aging, and presents some of the negative criticism of the method.  Also, I highlight five examples of bourbon-barreled beer. And not all reviews are positive.  Enjoy the reading and wherever you are, sip a bourbon or tipple a bourbon-barreled beer tonight.

As for bourbon itself, I note that last week at Chicago's Bangers and Lace, I had samples of two amazing bourbons, as detailed after the jump.

The first was from an Elmer T. Lee barrel handpicked by and aged specifically for the bar.  It was like caramel with an inviting, warming heat and zero after-burn.   It was simple, direct, delicious and enchanting, a great buy at $8 a pour.  Next up was WL Weller Antique, which was $28 a pour.  Fortunately, my sample was free and quite devastating.  It was textured like honey or cream and started softly.  Suddenly, its heat exploded on the palate and jarred me like a shock wave.  But it had no iota of burn.

A gentleman named Owen, who offered the sample, explained that this distillation was sealed in barrel condition and had not been through the standard watering-down process designed to achieve the requisite 80-proof level.  This left it at an explosive 126 proof, explaining its blindsiding heat.  Like any other great whiskey it still finished like silk, not fire.

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