In honor of today’s Derby, I tried three beers that were aged differently, but all used barrels that had previously contained Kentucky bourbon. I stuck with stouts that had an age of 2 to 12 months of additional time.
Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island
Michelle described the initial nose as similar to opening a new box of choclates. That matched up with the vanilla, carmel and chocolate that I smelled. As the evening progressed and the beer warmed up a bit, I started to get additional notes of butter toffee along with a little bit of oaky tannins on the finish. At 13% AbV, this is a sipping beer that would go great with dark choclate, cakes, or even creme brulee. I think this was my favorite of the three listed and all around a really nice beer. I would recommend this to almost any one. Even Michelle, who is not usually a beer drinker enjoyed her share, deciding it was a nice dessert beer.
Jefferson’s Reserve by Bluegrass Brewing Company
A nice Kentucy brewed beer from Louiseville, home of today’s muddy Derby. This was the mildest of the three in overall intensity. At 8% AbV and aged for 60 days in Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon barrels, there was almost a candied orange flavor along with coffe and oak on the finish. I would reccomend this to stout lovers who want to try something with a hint of bourbon aging to see how the stout changes.
KBS by Founder’s Brewing
This is a stout aged for one year in a Bourbon barrel. I would consider this the heaviest of the three I tasted. The nose jumps out with wood and coffee to which adds vanilla in the main flavor. The 11.2% AbV is not apparent as the coffee and wood cover any of the overall influence. I’m not sure I would reccomend this to a lot of beer drinkers unless you like stouts with heavy wood influances.
Last week, Michelle and I went to Arnold’s Bar and Grill, one of my favorite places in Cincinnati for spaghetti and meatballs, for a tasting of Jameson with Gerry Murray, the U.S. East Coast Jameson Ambassador. The atmosphere was overly social with a few great stories from Gerry to keep the tasting moving along.
We learned that all Jameson is triple pot distilled and will age in a combination of barrels that previously contained sherry or bourbon. The percentage of each as well as the age are what lend to the different flavors and colors.
Over the course of our hour long conversation, we tried 4 whiskey samples:
Jameson: 5-7 year old whiskey with 90% from bourbon barrels and 10% from sherry. A very nice toasted oak flavor with hints of orange and vanilla. Both Michelle and I enjoyed this one and surprisingly, it was Michelle’s favorite. The bourbon barrel seemed to impart a lower acidity than the other options and this was a nice smooth flavor similar to the bourbon we have at home. Gerry was coy on letting us know which distillery provided the barrels.
Jameson 12: 12 -15 year old whiskey with 75% coming from bourbon barrels. The tartness was higher on this one providing a slightly longer finish and a more abrupt mouth feel. Smokeless fuel is used to roast the barley which is one way that Irish whiskey differs from most Scotches. Overall, this one had a more present crispness.
Jameson Gold Reserve: 14 – 20 year old whiskey with an added twist. This adds in a small percentage of whiskey aged in virgin American white oak. This adds a creaminess to the initial taste while maintaining very strong honey and vanilla flavors. The end has a little bit of pepper. This was my favorite of the night.
Jameson 18: A flip of percentages from the first one: 75% 18 year old sherry aged and 25% 20 year old bourbon barrel aged. This one had a very heavy grassy flavor along side apricots and toffee. The finish was a bit much for Michelle, but I found it well rounded with the intensity of the rest of the flavors.
A few of the interesting things that I learned were that Michelle likes a whiskey that has been aged primarily in bourbon barrels without smokiness in the roasting of the grain. I think that was one of the reasons she preferred the earlier samples we tried. I enjoyed the whole range and appreciated the differences that were apparent in the different selections. Our current bar has a bottle each of Redbreast and Powers, but Jameson has earned a place as well at any of the levels.
Let me know other thoughts on Jameson or other Irish whiskeys in the comments. Here’s the rather popular “Lost Barrel” commercial for Jameson as well:
Michelle and I headed to Pachinko recently for a beer tasting in anticipation of the upcoming Cincinnati Beer Festival. Our friends at Hoperatives set up a quick introduction on the history of beer in Cincinnati by Timothy Holian. Timothy wrote Over the Barrel vols 1 and 2 and walked us through the history of how Cincinnati went from a large beer producing area to very little in the 80s and 90s, and now back to a place with additional options created locally.
Once Timothy finished, we were able to try 6 “German Style” brews from new local brewery Rivertown Brewing Company. I call them German-style as all six we tried had a very malt-driven flavor, more like a German style beer as opposed to the hop characteristics of most American microbrews or wheat that you would get from a more traditional Belgium Farmhouse style. The brewers were able to walk us through each beer we tried and they each have 10 years of home brewing experience. The six we tried were:
Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the festival March 26-28 at the convention center. I hope to see a great turnout when I am there on Friday.
On a recent trip to to Salt Lake city, the first time I had ever left the SLC airport, a friend and I stopped at the Blue Plate Diner for a quick bite to eat on the way to a conference. Blue Plate Diner was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
I had a vegan burger and cajun fries. The burger is assembled with beans, cooked oatmeal, onions and plenty of other non-meaty goodness. The burger was served on a toasted fresh bun and was fantastic.
The Blue Plate Diner is a collection of restaurant artifacts from the Salt Lake area. Booths from an old diner, a soda fountain from a general store up the road.
The test of any restaurant is if you would go back. To answer that question, on the way back to the airport, we stopped in again for a pre-flight meal. This time it was Chicken Fried Steak for me.
Served with home fries and 3 eggs over easy, this was an amazing end to a trip to my trip to Salt Lake. I’d recommend the vegan burger over the breakfast, but I was not disappointed in either.
I’m not much of a beer drinker. Kevin and the Hoperatives would all tell you I like the wheat-y girly beers. But I did quite well with the Captain Tony’s Amber at Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West. If you’re mulling the phrase “Captain Tony” around in your head, wondering why you’ve heard of it, the good Captain stars in the Jimmy Buffett song Last Mango in Paris. The video below is a mostly me, with Kevin chiming in because I don’t really trust myself to review beer. (Yeah, I know. I need to get over it.)
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