As black as midnight, Sierra Nevada already has a winner on its hands in Narwhal, their Imperial Stout. But Barrel-Aged Narwhal raises the bar, mellowing some of the beer's flavors while intensifying others. After aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels, this 12.9% ABV beast has plenty of bark, but very little bite. It's smooth, sweet, and mellow till the last pour. Available nationally, but in small quantities, making it nearly as rare as its namesake.
Evil Twin Brewing isn't afraid to up the ante, that's why they decided that their Imperial Stout, Even More Jesus, could get even bigger. Double Barrel Jesus takes that beer and combines it with Muscovado Sugar and ages it in bourbon barrels. The result is a rich, pitch black stout with loads of flavors like chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and vanilla. And at 12% ABV, it has the potential to provide a nearly spiritual experience.
Smoked beers, known as Rauchbier in Germany were almost non-existent in the United States until 1988, when Alaskan Brewing set the standard with their Alaskan Smoked Porter. Since then, it's received over 30 National and International awards, and is one of the most decorated beers in the history of the Great American Beer Festival. The dark, robust porter is a perfect pairing with smoked salmon, cheese, or just to warm up a bit on a cold night.
Already known for their solid stable of year-round beers and award winning brew pubs, Beachwood Brewing continues to impress with their barrel-aged program. One of the first bottled beers in the program is Sadie, a dark ale aged in bourbon barrels for 12 months. Sadie is a sweet, smooth drink, with plenty of caramel and vanilla and just a touch of oak. It's another hit for one of the most underrated breweries on the West Coast.