Monday, May 3, 2010

A long time ago... (pt 2.)

Brewing Company: New England Brewing Co.
Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout
Size: 12 oz.
ABV: n/a

I've never been to a beer release before... I've had all kinds of limited beer varities, some that were good and others that I definitely would not pay for again. Fast-forward to two weeks ago... so I'm told 700 bottles of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout Trooper would be sold at the New England Brewing Company; limit being 2 per customer @ $15 per bottle. I have no idea what to expect...

...on one side, I feel like there are only a handful of people who actively pursue tasty alcoholic beverages like I do. So there MIGHT be 100 people at this release. On the other hand, are there really 350 intense beer drinkers in the area that would wait in line for such a thing? 8am?? Really... Really??? I'll take my chances and show up around Noon. And I guess if worst came to worst, they would at least have the Gandhi Bot DIPA on tap so it wouldn't be a wasted trip.

Not sure how long these people waited in line... but we timed it just right in my opinion. There were about 75-100 people ahead of us. And you could see that there were a few individuals that waited in line, bought their (2) bottles, then got right back in line for (2) more. Frankly, I don't have the money to spend on 6-8 bottles @ $15 a pop. Honestly, I had to convince myself to buy (2) as it was! So my buddy John, his son Dan and I waited in line... it only took us about 30 minutes to get up to the front. John and I each picked up two bottles of the Stout Trooper and a growler of Gandhi Bot. John picked up a Scotch Ale as well which we have yet to try... I decided that with my two bottles, I'll try one in the next few weeks, then store the other one and let it age a few months. All in all, a successful day!

(On a side note... I have NO idea what the boys at NEB were thinking when it came to entertainment. There was some sort of freak talent show going on... Weird.)

I decided against posting the old Stout Trooper label... JUST in case George Lucas caught wind of the Beer411 blog. (Haha.) Needless to say, the boys at NEB did not break the bank on the new label design. At least they got to keep the name! (for now!) My guess is that they put their efforts into the booze... and boy did they ever.

It pours extremely black with a dark brown head on top. The lacing is very nice on the side of the glass, gearing up my taste buds for what looks like a creamy/malty flavor....

Smells off the top give you your usual stout characteristics: dark fruit, black coffee, dark chocolate. There's a booziness to this beer as well, most likely from the aging process which is also why we do not know the ABV. The wood used to age this beer must have also given it some oak/vanilla qualities. You get a subtle coconut flavoring in addition to everything else going on...

The taste is excellent. Off the front you get your dark chocolate/bitter coffee flavors. The lacing that we saw on the sides of the glass back up the sweet malts. Then my taste buds got a dose of the bourbon aging and the woody qualities that we picked up from the smells. And although we only got a little sample of this brew the other day, the stickiness stays with you long after.

Overall, I'm not gonna lie - this beer was $$$ and maybe its my mindset right now but $15 on something like this can't be sampled every weekend. But if you have a chance to pick up a bottle and there's a special occasion coming up and you have a little extra in this week's paycheck... go for it. The beer is, like I put earlier, Fantastic. But $15 for a 12 oz? Ouch... Kinda hard to rationalize that one.

Final Grade: B+ (Fantastic beer... but expensive.)

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