Saturday, December 20, 2008

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad

After running all over town trying to find this super limited brew, I finally found it, and grabbed the last one off the shelf. Oh the life of a beer geek. I think the endeavor will probably be worth it, as the Smokestack brews just keep getting better and better, and the Sixth Glass Quad, of which the Bourbon Barrel Quad is an offshoot, was exceptional, so I approach this one with great anticipation.

The "BBQ" comes in the same style bottle as the Saison Bret. It has that classically simple look to it, with the name inscribed in handwritten font. This one is numbered 04780/10630, and shows 11.8 % alc/vol.

A dark, almost opaque garnet colored pour is topped by a huge, dense tan head. Hues of crimson reveal themselves when held to light. Head retention is excellent, with a fine sheet of lace left behind. Dark fruits (raisins, grapes, figs) present themselves to the nose at first. Behind that we have some grain and subtle spice (nutmeg, coriander) along with a welcomed, but surprising hint of brett. Smoky phenols envelop the aromatic profile.

An initial sip reveals a spicy, bready sweetness that ends with a good hit of alcohol heat. Further exploration reveals the aforementioned brett funk, a furtive note of burnt wood, some spicy candy, more dark fruits such as grapes, prunes and cherries, and a hint of taffy. Toward the end of the glass, when everything has warmed, the essence of the bourbon barrel aging reveals itself and hits at the back of the throat with the oaken notes and grain, providing for a special encore.

Mouth-feel lies somewhere between medium and full-bodied, but it's definitive rich, creamy and viscous qualities make it quite drinkable.

The "BBQ", monikered appropriately as it's brewed in KC, is an exceptional beer that should make any Midwesterner proud, and any East or West coaster envious. Trade or travel, but do whatever you must to get a hold of one of these.

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