Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beer: Widmer's Brrrbon '12 & Boulevard's Rye-On-Rye

In the craft beer world, aging in oak whiskey, bourbon, or wine barrels is a kind of trend, it seems. Hints of vanilla, wood, and subtle fruity characters can be added via this method. In the spirit of "beer themes", here are a couple of limited releases recently tasted at Goatsden that utilize this "barrel aging" process.

Widmer's always been a solid brand, and even though they are co-owned by corporate beer monoliths (AB/InBev), I still find myself enjoying most of their line. This limited 9.4% ABV beast is aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, and is comparable to the better-known Alltech Brewing Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which has been enjoyed many, many times here at Goatsden HQ. Here's my take on this big beer.

Pours a rich amber, with limited head of carbonation, and not much noticeable lacing. Nose is some vanilla and oak. Taste is rich and sweetly malty, but I don't get much of the vanilla-like bourbon tones. The finish does showcase the warm whiskey character, though. 

This one's not bad, though perhaps a tad high on the price ($14.99/bomber).

Part of Kansas City craft beer legends Boulevard's limited edition, premium "Smokestack Series", Rye-On-Rye is an exquisite corked bomber of very strong but unique beer aged in rye whiskey barrels.

Pours a murky, ruddy red-amber. Very sudsy, but little head visible. Carbonation continues to bubble as the glass warms. Odd and unusual. Nose is unique -- I get wet wood, some fruitiness, butter, and toffee. Not that it's bad, just an unusual combination, again. Flavor is fruits/berries and some toffee -- sweet and somehow wine-like. I don't detect much of the rye whiskey barrel, though, as this one just seems more of a fruit-oriented champagne style. 

It's quite easy to drink, and especially with the very deceptive 13% ABV. 

Overall, certainly a memorable and genre-busting brew.

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