A coffee stout aged in bourbon barrels is delicious, but it's nothing new. City Of The Dead from Modern Times in San Diego however, is not your average barrel aged coffee stout. Instead of brewing the beer and then letting it age in barrels, Modern Times aged the coffee beans first, making it the first bottled barrel aged coffee beer in existence. The Guatemalan coffee really shines, layered with rich, bourbon, vanilla, and oak flavors that could make this new process the next big thing in craft beer.
The demand for bigger IPAs continues, although typically it's a bigger amount of hops or booze that drinkers crave. This Imperial IPA from Upslope Brewing has plenty of hops — hitting 90 IBUs on the bitterness scale — and also packs a wallop at 10% ABV. It's so big, it comes in these unique 19.2 oz Royal Pint cans, nearly twice the size of most cans you're accustomed to. It's brewed using six pounds of different hops giving it a tropical aroma and a bitter yet pleasing taste. Despite the size of the can and the tale of the tape, this IPA is surprisingly easy to drink.
There's something special about the way a scotch whiskey interacts with a Sherry Cask. Such is the case with one of the newest releases from The Balvenie, their 15 year old Single Barrel Sherry Cask whiskey. It's matured in European oak sherry butt for 15 years in a cask that held Oloroso sherry previously, and then released in batches of no more than 650 bottles from each single cask. Bottled at a slightly higher 47.8% ABV, this scotch is bursting with sweet flavors like liquorice and sherry with a long yet smooth finish.
We don't blame you if you reach for a pint of the black stuff on St. Patrick's Day, but there's a new Irish Stout that may just usurp that traditional choice this year. The Irish Whiskey Aged Stout from Innis & Gunn is just about as Irish as it gets — even though it comes from a Scottish brewer. It begins with a Stout made from Scottish malts and is then matured over Irish whiskey-infused oak. It's rich, smooth, with some mild sweetness and weighs in at a respectable 7.4% ABV.