I didn’t intend to write a post about this beer. What makes this post even more odd is that I’m not drinking the beer while I write about it. Instead, I’m reflecting, dreaming…remembering. However, there are times when a beer makes such an impression that it deserves to be talked about. I first experienced this beer in 2015. It was so good that I went back and bought a second bottle to age a bit. For the next several years, this annual release just didn’t seem to make it to Knoxville – or if it did, it was in extremely small quantities and I missed it entirely.
Fast forward to this past December when my friend Brian Roe brought a 2015 bottle, just like the one I still had on the shelf, to a bottle share. Wow. This beer had aged incredibly well and became one of the highlights of the share. As we got into January, low and behold, the 2019 version made its way to the shelves at McScrooge’s Wine and Spirits. While McScrooge’s is sold out, I’m told this beer can be found in a few places around town.
So what’s the big deal. This beer follows your typical “whale” style beer in that it is a barrel aged imperial stout with cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. Some may be thinking wow, that sounds great! Others may be thinking how is this any different than the tons of other beers just like this? I hear you both – this beer is different in that it is one of the more balanced barrel aged imperial stouts I’ve had in which every stated characteristic can be easily identified. Further, due to the flavors, and the barrel aging, so many other characteristics come out as well – chocolate, caramel and a nice creamy mouthfeel. As the beer warmed up I also found graham cracker intertwined with all the other wonderful flavors. At 10.5% the alcohol isn’t overpowering either.
Final snobs: While this didn’t turn out to be a normal post for me but this is a very well done beer and one I am proud to say comes from Tennessee. Seek one out, you won’t be sorry!