First Taste: Anderson Valley/Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout
Beer aged in bourbon barrels isn't spectacularly new (take the ever popular Goose Island Bourbon County Stout), but that doesn't stop our excitement for the newest bourbon take on craft beer.
This summer, California-based craft brewery Anderson Valley Brewing Co. announced a partnership with Wild Turkey Bourbon to use their leftover bourbon barrels to age its Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout,. What makes this so remarkable, said president of Anderson Valley Trey White at the release party, is that it's the only licensed trademark of a whiskey company (so you'll see that Wild Turkey name splayed on all draught and beer bottles).
More importantly, it will make the production of a bourbon-aged beer explode. Normally, craft brewers get about 10 bourbon barrels to experiment with; Eddie Rusself of Wild Turkey said they have sent bourbon barrels to brewers all over the country. Now, Wild Turkey sent more than 500 bourbon barrels to Anderson Valley to use. "The relationship with Wild Turkey provides Anderson Valley with a world-class, consistent source of barrelage rather than randomly sourced barrelage in limited quantities. Anderson Valley, working with the Russells, will explore new frontiers in barrel aged craft beer," White said in a release.
It's an exciting partnership for both beer and bourbon lovers; Russell said at the event that his father, master distiller Jimmy Russell, had never drank so much beer as he had in the last year. And what does the final product taste like? The beer, aged in charred bourbon barrels for three months, has a deep ebony color, with notes of vanilla, toffee, and espresso. In a word: delicious. We expect bourbon-aged beers to be the next big thing.
For now, the beer will be available only in draught, but you can get the Bourbon Barrel Stout in bottles by the end of the year.