Boulevard Brewing’s Stout A Solid Example Of A Barrel-aged Beer
Welcome to Liquid, where it has apparently become my goal to just drink beer aged in whiskey barrels. Yeah, I know, I used to go through a bunch of different styles, but that is over now. If it doesn’t taste like whiskey and a spicy cigar, I’m just not interested, OK? Leave me alone, you’re not the boss of me. This is my happy place.
In truth, last time I went beer shopping, I just really wanted barrel-aged beers, and I’m still reaping the benefits of that trip. Someday I’ll write about other brews again; it’s just not going to be today. Besides, now that winter is in full swing, springtime beers are right around the corner. There will be floral saisons and lighter ales. But before that happens, I’m going to enjoy some thick, smoky brews with a powerful ABV. I have no regrets.
This week, I’m drinking Boulevard Brewing Co.’s Whiskey Barrel Stout, one of those beers whose name tells you pretty much everything you need to know. Boulevard is out of Kansas City, Missouri, and everything I’ve had from it has been solid and just a little extra. Boulevard’s brews tend to hit that sweet spot between solid examples of a style and experimental. Nothing ever gets too wild, but its brews do tend to have some interesting complexity. My hope was that this one would follow suit.
It had no head. I poured quite vigorously, and nothing happened. The beer left the bottle thick and syrupy and splashed into the glass. It wasn’t quite as dark as motor oil, but otherwise it could have fooled me. The brew comes across as a really dark brown instead of pitch black, and it left no lacing as it dissipated. I’m not sure, but this beer might be classified as a solid.
The nose certainly showcases the 11.8 percent ABV. You can smell the booze in this, and that whiskey barrel scent only accentuates that. The scent had some sweetness as well and a little bit of banana. There also was just the slightest hint of dark chocolate, which almost assuredly came from the roasted malts in the brew.
The taste just seemed to get more complex the longer I drank it. First up was whiskey barrel. As it opened up, vanilla and maple gave it a pleasant sweetness. It was spicy and smoky with a bit of tobacco and leather going on. I caught a nice undercurrent of bananas in the taste as well, but it took me a while to notice it. It certainly had a boozy burn, which is no less than I expected. Dark chocolate like roasted malt backed up all of this.
The beer was a lot of things, and they were all really well-balanced against each other. And the longer I drank this one, the more I liked it. It didn’t have much of a hop presence, which suited it well. I’d fear that it would upset the beautiful balance going on. The brew’s thick body also served to make it a satisfying drink, a great blend of savory and sweet with such a great whiskey burn backing it all up. After drinking this, maybe I won’t ever switch styles again after all.