Paired Reviews: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon and Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout
Holy Crap! I hate canker sores! They hurt when you talk, when you smile and, yes, when you drink bourbon. I've been living with them for two weeks now. It's been two weeks with no bourbon to speak of. And with no bourbon in my life for the last two weeks, you might imagine that I'd be sad. That there would be tears and despair.
You'd might imagine that, but you'd be wrong. You'd be wrong because while you can't have bourbon with a mouth sore, you can have beer. And on most nights beer is a nice consolation for no bourbon.
So what, you might be asking, does any of that have to do with a bourbon blog? A couple years ago, I was made aware of an amazing phenomenon happening in the world of beer. Namely the aging of beer in used bourbon barrels. I've had a few of these. Stouts, IPAs and others, but one of my favorites was one I didn't realize was barrel aged, the first time I had it. I had asked for a good beer (surprise me) at a local burger place known for their beer selection and what was brought to me was Dragon's Milk from New Holland brewery. I loved it from the first sip, but knew nothing about it. It wasn't until much later that I learned it was barrel aged.
Imagine my delight when I learned that New Holland was releasing a bourbon that had been finished in Dragon's Milk barrels. That's right, they were releasing a bourbon barrel aged beer barrel aged bourbon. The very concept is hard to keep straight.
But the real question is how does it taste? And does it live up to it's amazing sibling? Let's find out.
New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon
Nose: Initially a lot of alcohol. After sitting a bit it settles into maple syrup and a hint of oak.
Taste: First sip is nutty and malty. Reminds me of Grape-Nuts cereal. Beyond that, the bourbon is soft and creamy with some oak and some tannins.
Finish: This was odd. You swollow and your mouth tingles. Nothing strange so far. But then after a few seconds a burn comes up from your stomach and settles over your heart. Not painful, just warm. At that point the tingle has faded and there is a lingering sweetness in the mouth.
So how does it compare to the beer? I don't do a lot of beer tasting notes, but here goes nothing...
New Holland Dragon's Milk Boubon Barrel Stout
Nose: Straight up corn flakes
Taste: Nutty and malty Grape-Nut flavor with some fruitiness tossed in for good measure.
Finish: Lingering malty sweetness
Overall: I love this beer. It is sweet without being cloying. It's interesting but also downright tasty. I would drink the heck out of this (and also have). The bourbon is interesting. There is certainly a resemblance between the two. That nutty-malty Grape-Nut flavor is present in both. If you love the beer, you owe it to yourself to try the bourbon. With it's creamy nuttiness, it makes a nice-change-of-pace bourbon. That said, if you are not a fan of this beer, do not buy this bourbon. I happen to love the beer and as such, I like the bourbon.
Like the Bourbon.
Love the Beer.