Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Day 65 (9/27/2011): Bourbon Barrel Porter by Williamsburg AleWerks
One of my favorite things about vacation is getting to try new things I wouldn't normally have access to at home. This means food, attractions, views, and yes, beer. Beer distribution is so crazy that you never know what you're going to find when you head to a state outside your own. Early on in this vacation in South Carolina, I headed to the store to figure out what local/regional stuff I could get my hands on. One bottle that intrigued me was a bourbon barrel porter from Williamsburg AleWerks. I had never heard of the brewery before, but it had a good score on both sites and I'm a sucker for barrel aged beers, so I picked one up to try.
I am very, very glad I did. This might be one of the best surprises I've had since I got into craft beers. Most stellar beers I get to try I expect to be stellar because of the hype behind them. It's not often that I ahold of an amazing beer that I've never heard of before.
The smell of this beer is tremendous. It's very rich, with a chocolate, almost fudge-like scent mingling with your porter-necessary roast. The barrel treatment is what brings this beer to the next level. It imparts a complex scent of vanilla, oak, coconut, and, of course, bourbon. It fits in with the rest of the scents perfectly, never overwhelming the base beer's characteristics. The taste, though still outstanding, isn't quite as rich as the smell. The low carb'ed, somewhat thick body carries a moderately sweet, bourbony goodness, with a solid roast in the finish. The alcohol is present just enough to add a warming characteristic, but it's not hot or too boozy.
I think the best thing I can say for this beer is that I'm going back to get more bottles to bring home. At $7.99 for a great barrel aged imperial beer, this is a hell of a deal. In my opinion, it's not as good as Parabola, but it's also half the price of it. Overall, outstanding. Kudos to a brewery I've never even heard of before putting out a beer of this caliber. I guess hype isn't everything after all.
Style: Imperial/strong porter
Beer Advocate: A-