Sometimes I get unexpected treats. Some weeks ago, my friend David the brewer told me he had a beer he’d like me to try out. It was a long distance collaboration project between him and Paul Thomas, former head brewer at Bitter Root Brewery (where the beer was brewed) in Hamilton, Montana and, as of December, head brewer at Pelican brewery and pub in Oregon.
The beer is listed on the Bitter Root web page under Brewer’s whims and seasonals, CollaBEERation Baltic Porter. 9% ABV, aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for 69 days, no less.
The bourbon is very present here, with vanilla and an edge of alcohol.There is more underneath, a fine porter with cocoa, liquorice, a hint of coffee, perhaps.
It is bottled with a fair amount of carbonation, giving a huge, rapidly imploding head. A dark beer with a ruby glow.
The bourbon outshines everything – for a follow up perhaps an even stronger imperial stout would give the barrel more of a challenge, or maybe a few weeks less of barrel aging? A bit too much vanilla for me.
But that’s a minor complaint. First and foremost this is a refreshing change from all the Scotch barrel aged beers out there – perhaps some bourbon casks could find their way across the Atlantic as well?