Nick Carr on September 14, 2015 2 Comments ALE TALE: Quick Characteristics Brewery: Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company. Location: Lexington, KY Style: Wood Aged Beer ABV: 8.2% IBU: ? Appearance: Clear dark honey hue with thin off-white head. Aroma: Little aroma, Notes of complex vanilla and oaky bourbon. Flavor: Glass of bourbon with amber ale ice; Balanced woodiness, earth and vanilla with notes of caramel and spice; Little signs of hops or malts; Easy-drinking with clean finish. Suggested Glass: Tulip, Snifter or Large Wine Glass Serving Temp: 50°F—55°F Availability: Year Round Pairs With: Pork with port sauce, BBQ Ribs, Smoked duck, Colby cheese, Cheesecake, Aperitif or after dinner drink Once upon a time there was a town between two hills. This town may have been happy once, in fact I’m sure of it, but now it was a most unhappy place to live. You see, all the power in the land was wielded by the Keepers of the Hills, for an art form was plied upon each hilltop which brought renown and fortune to the land. Or should have brought fortune, but for a curse. What craft did go on in those hills that held such sway over the land you ask? And of the curse, Aye, I’ll tell of the curse. Atop one hill there was a distillery atop the other a brewery. Ah, now you begin to see… but more still to be said. For there was bad blood betwixt the two. Brothers once they were, but no more for selfish acts, drive to hatred and, as everyone knows, hatred breeds curses. You see, once a father owned both magnificent hills. They were the jewels of the land, these high places. For to live high meant seeing far, and seeing far, why that’s a lucky charm. He gave each his sons half of each hilltop in hopes they might labor together for the village and for themselves to build something of renown. Ah, but given its head aspirations can drive men to wickedness. And so it went with our brothers. Instead of working side by side, one wanted a distillery on both hilltops to make fine liquored brew. He said “think how much more liquor we could sell with two such established, one upon each hill. Surely this will bring fortunes fill.” But the other countered, wanting breweries instead. “Nothing is finer then the beer I stew. Upon the hilltops two I must have an ale house and a lager house to brew.” Their motivation, each, was self-centered renown with little care for the town. So they sought each a hilltop, festering ill-intent, and in bad-blood did build each their own imagined need. The one an ale brewery of a scale never seen before or since and the other a distillery so grand it was recognized throughout the land. And so they plied their craft, each his own, and spied across the gap of the miserable little town never ounce looking down. Each working furiously night and day to out produce, out trade, and outmatch the other brother. Oh, but they brewed and distilled fine libations indeed. But caught in a curse of their own making neither could gain more than passing prestige. Until one night. –and here we come to the crux of my story- A night when the stars hung in their veil, bright and tender-eyed. The village was quiet and dark, but light did glow upon each hill to mark untimely labor. And from each door, at the very same instant, what should come but each brother rolling a barrel of latest creation. Ah, how fate decides to dip her hand in the ministrations of men, I do not know. But this night her hand did drop, as each crossed the long slope of the hill, each struck a rock. Their barrels did buck and slew-too-steep in the night’s soft dew and away they did bound, down the slope toward the town. Each brother reached and grasped, cursed and slide, until the selfsame dew that had sent the barrels agaggle attended their feet too. So, barrels and brothers did come quite uncouthly pitching into a village asleep. And would you know it, why those barrels were lined up exactly right and came together with a terrible smashing might. Just behind and maybe a little to the left the brothers did come to rest. Busting wide, the craftiness interred therein did spill and mix. Each brother dazed, did drink, of that puddled sink. Low, they drank and did see each anew, a gifted talent, different but alike and equal too. As all brothers be. When combined into that most different brew, they saw, just what together they might do. And what of the village? Why with the Keepers of the Hills working side by side to make something never imagined, true fortune and renown did find the town and, as a matter of course, they all lived happily ever after. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: In the glass, it has a clear dark honey color, almost the color of brandy. A thin off-white head rides the top but only briefly before breaking up, then disappearing altogether. Carbonation is medium. Slight legginess on the glass. There is very little aroma when the beer is cold. Even after it warms there is little complexity to the vanilla and oaky bourbon notes. Mouthfeel and Taste: Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium-thin body. Carbonation is pleasantly mild. Mildly warming on the palate. Taste is a bit like a bourbon on amber ale rocks, forgotten long enough that the ale ice melts and puts some of that beery taste into your bourbon. The bourbon dominates but does not overpower, giving equal parts damp woodiness, earth, some vanilla, and slight spice. A caramel note every now and again, but otherwise the ale part of this whole concoction stays hidden, with nary a sign of hops or malt. The alcohol never becomes too aggressive which leaves the door open to explore the sweet nuances brought on by the infused liquor. Very easy drinking; you’d be hard put to recognize the 8.2% ABV. Finishes with a clean, non-cloying sweetness and warming bourbon afterthoughts. Finishing Thoughts I haven’t tried any of Lexington Brewing Company’s other beers, but it seems this is the one to try, it being Kentucky and all. The beer itself came out in 2006 and grew quickly to become the company’s flagship ale. It has garnered some renown, winning multiple awards including a Great American Beer Festival silver and a World Beer Cup silver. Definitely an interesting beer and worth a try. Whether you like it or not is going to depend on how you feel about bourbon. It drinks dangerously easy; being smooth and warming, with no harshness whatsoever. The mouthfeel could be a little more substantial, but otherwise I quite enjoyed it as a whole. I could see the woody warming qualities pairing great with smoked meats but it really finds its home as an after dinner relaxing drink. Cheers!