We were out getting our Christmas photos done at the local pack ’em in, rush ’em through, up-sell them like crazy photo studio. Talk about an incredibly stressful afternoon! Fortunately, the photo studio is right next door to the local brewpub Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works. We decided to relax and enjoy a beer or two while waiting on our photos. I decided to go for the biggest thing on the beer menu to help relieve some of the stress.
Location: Enjoyed an 8 oz glass at Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works in Normal, IL.
Numbers: 9.1% ABV, ~ 200 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It was a dark rusty brown color with hints of red, with a very big, creamy, tan colored head. The head had tremendous retention and left some great lacing on the glass. There was a very nice bourbon barrel aroma with both the bourbon and oaky barrel smells coming through.
Taste & Feel: The body was full and it had a very creamy mouthfeel. It was smooth and very sweet up front with plenty of caramel maltiness. In the middle, much more of the bourbon flavors came though, giving it a sweet caramel and big bourbon flavor. The bourbon flavors continued through the finish with some of the woody and oaky flavors coming through. The sweet bourbon flavors lasted into the aftertaste for several seconds.
Food Pairing: Since the sweet bourbon flavors were awfully big in this beer, you could completely overwhelm your tastebuds with sweet flavors and pair this with a pecan pie. However, you could also try something that would add a little complexity, and help to cut through the sweetness, such as a cinnamon cake. Either way, this is probably a dessert beer.
Overall Impression: I am a big fan of bourbon, and, as you know, a big fan of beer as well. I also love the two flavors together. However, this one was a bit too weighted toward the bourbon side of things. The big hoppiness this beer normally has was completely gone and the combination of the sweet maltiness and big bourbon flavor was a bit too much. It was a good beer, but it would have been much, much better with a bit less bourbon flavor in it.