Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout
By Hudson Lindenberger
Spring is upon us reveling in all her glory, but old man winter is still lurking waiting for an opportunity to chill you. If he does manage to make an appearance take the edge off his frosty touch with a nice bourbon barrel-aged stout beer from Anderson Valley Brewing. Barrel ageing beer has recently become the rage in the craft-brewing scene as brewers are continually tinkering with their recipes. What better way to impart unique flavors and boost alcohol content than laying down a stout in a Wild Turkey barrel?
Award-Winning Anderson Valley Brews
Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonville has been churning out quality brews since 1987 winning numerous awards along the way including thirteen medals at the Great American Beer Festival and six from the World Beer Cup. Their Bavarian style brew house fashions golden goodness in vintage copper brew kettles rescued from the scrap yard in 1995 by founder Ken Allen during a journey to Germany.
Their Bourbon Barrel Stout comes from their collaboration with the Wild Turkey distillery from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Their beer is aged in used bourbon barrels for three months to allow the beautiful merger of Bourbon and Beer, two of John Lee Hooker’s favorite beverages, all we are missing is some Scotch.
The beer tips the scales at 6.9 percent alcohol and is served in a 22-ounce bottle. I recommend letting the beer sit at room temperature for an hour to allow the temp to rise and the flavor to flow. As I pour the beer into my pint glass I can detect a hint of Whisky in the air, it pours smooth with a thick creamy head like a San Francisco fog in early spring. The inky ichorous liquid looks as if is would swallow light.
The nose is sweet with hints of chocolate, toffee, vanilla, coffee and a slight hint of bourbon. As the liquid hits your lips you get a slight hop hit up front that is quickly plowed under by the sweetness of the stout. The chocolate malts are quite predominating along with a hint of molasses. The mouth feel is surprisingly average – I was expecting a thicker fuller beer. You get a very pleasant bourbon hit about five seconds after you swallow the beer and the warmth of your throat releases the aromatics of the Wild Turkey. Minimal aftertaste leaves you wanting to take another sip or three. Overall, a nice beer to help keep Jack Frost at bay and your toes warm on those chilly early spring evenings.
Just for fun, check out this video from Anderson Valley’s Bourbon Barrel room:
And, for a first-hand taste of all of Anderson Valley’s brews plus handcrafted brews from more than 80 others, make the trek to Booneville on May 3 for the 18th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville. A full-taster ticket is $41.50 online, $55 at the gate and a non-taster ticket is $6.50 online, $5 at the gate. Click here for complete information.