20 December 2015

Beer of the Week - December 13th to 19th

The clock ticks closer to the big day and the beer keeps getting better in my house. I love picking my Beer of the Week (BOW) on Sunday morning. Looking back over the past week and remembering all the great (Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout) and not so great (Oculto) beers that I crossed paths with.
This weeks BOW was chosen because it was the beer that made me slow down and relax. When you work in retail at Christmas in a mall, that is something you just don't really do. I found myself running a little ragged at the edges on Monday night and when I popped the cap on Nickel Brook's Kentucky Bastard (2015) it really grabbed my attention. They've taken their Bolshevik Bastard and aged it for eight months in Bourbon barrels. Sounded interesting. This big brew comes in at a pretty high 12.0 % ABV and a whopping 80 IBUs. But bitter it most definitely is not. Big and robust flavours dominate this brew. The most stunning feature for me was the bourbon flavour that has been imparted from the aging process. I have never been a big fan of any liquor, preferring beer to anything else when it comes to intoxicating beverages. This brew melds the best of a stout, with its chocolate, coffee and vanilla flavours, with the silky smoothness and high alcohol content of the aforementioned booze.
As I sipped this one, I watched some Christmas specials with my wife and just chilled. It became more complex as it warmed up, with the chocolate helping to mellow the sharp bourbon. I didn't have another after it and I didn't want one. It was a fantastic way to just enjoy the evening. This is exactly the type of beer I would not have appreciated a year ago because it is not an easy beer to gulp down and get onto the next one.
I am going to buy another one and age it for a year. this is a new concept to me, mainly due to the fact that beer usually didn't last more than a few days in my fridge. I have been told that aging it a year or two can really change the way the beer drinks. Smoothing out the flavours and making it even more interesting to the taste buds. I look forward to what happens next December when I pull this out of the cold cellar and see what time can do to my beer.
Cheers to Nickel Brook and this outstanding Seasonal favourite. Kentucky Bastard is deserving of this weeks BOW and maybe even the Beer of the Year. (More on that later in the week.)
Get one of these and just relax.

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