As I mentioned in my last post, I was up in Chicago for work today, and on my way home, I decided to stop in Lexington, IL at Kemp’s Upper Tap. This small bar in a small town always seems to have the best beers around. It must help that one of the big local craft beer distributors is located just up the street from them. When I saw this beer on the list, I knew I had to get it. I’d heard about how good it was, and then saw it on an episode of Brew Dogs. And when the menu says they can’t serve you more than two of these, it make it irresistible.
Location: On draft and served in a small snifter style glass at Kemps Upper Tap in Lexington, IL.
Numbers: 8.7% ABV, 27.4 IBUs, 17.8 OG, ~290 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s a brick-red, sort of brown color, and fairly hazy. It had an overflowing, slightly off-white head that fell quickly to just a creamy ring around the edge of the glass. The aroma was malty-caramelly, with a bourbon barrel-like vanilla smell.
Taste & Feel: The body is full, and the mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat viscous. The flavor up front is sweet and malty-caramelly with some spiciness. The maltiness grows bigger and bolder in the middle, and the bourbon barrel flavor comes in, but the spiciness fades a bit. In the finish, there’s a nice malty-vanilla barrel flavor and a very good rye spiciness. The aftertaste is warming, and has a great malty-barrel character.
Food Pairing: There’s no doubt in my mind… the perfect food to pair this with would be BBQ, and in particular, wet barbecued ribs. No question about it. I’d also put this with pulled pork or any other meat covered in sauce.
Overall Impression: This is an incredibly great beer! It’s super complex, with maltiness, rye spiciness and vanilla bourbon barrel character. I loved the caramelly maltiness as well as the sweetness from the barrel, which was balanced by the rye spiciness. I definitely considered giving this beer a perfect rating. If you can find this beer, get it (and save some for me)!