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The best beers we tasted this week

DRAFT’s editors taste dozens of new beers each week. These were our favorites.
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Voodoo Black Magick Aged in Bourbon Barrels, Perennial Barrel Aged Sump, Singin' River Ghost Bridge

Barrel-Aged Sump
Perennial Artisan Ales

Through the magic of science and experimentation, we already know that the coffee character of Perennial’s annual-release imperial coffee stout, Sump, persists even after a year in the cellar. But can those salted dark chocolate- and blackberrylike beans beans stand up to the flavor derived from twelve months of Rittenhouse Rye barrel-aging? YUP. They’re quite necessary, in fact, tempering the beer’s huge base of nougat and graham flour with notes of dark berries and toasted hazelnut. Maple syrup attaches itself to the brew’s oaky top notes, while a smooth, meaty smokiness—like brown sugar-rubbed pork—shifts in the background. While the coffee here is certainly less prominent than in the un-aged version, the barrel’s threads of toasted coconut, maple, vanilla and smoke more than make up for the loss.

Ghost Bridge
Singin’ River Brewing Co.

Imperial stouts aged in bourbon barrels may get all the glory, but that makes finding one that hasn’t touched oak but still expresses complexity and nuance all the more satisfying. Ghost Bridge, produced in Florence, Alabama, is one of these. Blueberry pie and maple syrup govern the rich aroma, while softer aromas of anise, peanut skin and bubblegum assist. Sips are even fruitier than the nose, pelting the tongue with Raisinettes before the swallow combines smoky steak char, dark chocolate and marshmallow fluff. Every flavor aspect of the 9.6% ABV stout, however, is outshone by the body, which is like drinking melted ice cream. Though no whiskey’s needed, a barrel-aged version of this beer does exist; we’re willing to bet it’s pretty great, too.

Black Magick Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Voodoo Brewing Co.

(To the tune of Carlos Santana’s 1970 hit “Black Magic Woman”)

Got a Black Magick bottle
Got a Black Magick bottle

We got a Black Magick bottle
With the green wax, we can see
It spent 20 months in barrels
Old Forester bourbon, specifically

It smells like dark chocolate, baby
It smells like dark chocolate, baby

Yes, that’s dark chocolate, baby
With brown sugar and maple, too
And then there’s moist oak and flank steak
Plus yogurt raisins, yes it’s true

It tastes like smoked prunes and cocoa
It tastes like smoked prunes and cocoa

Yes, it tastes like smoked prunes and cocoa
With charcoal-grilled steak below
Toasted hazelnut and burnt toast
Arrive at the swallow

(three-minute guitar solo)

You’re creamy, warm and complex, bottle
You’re creamy, warm and complex, bottle

Yes, You’re creamy, warm and complex, bottle
Turning our hearts into stone
We need you so bad, Black Magick bottle
We can’t leave you alone

(Raucous applause, panties fly on stage, heads explode from sheer excitement)

 

Author
Zach Fowle is DRAFT's beer editor. Reach him at zach@draftmag.com.

Brewery Travels
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In my ongoing quest to visit breweries all across this great land, I have now surpassed the 400 mark, and they’ve been spread across 37 states and 175+ cities. To celebrate this landmark, I’ve put together a ‘Special Edition’ of Brewery Travels: A rundown of my favorites in each of the states visited so far.

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   Midwest Breweries   Midwest Feature   Northeast Breweries   South Breweries   Travel   West Breweries  

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Why a Miller Lite Was the Best Beer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve worked in craft beer for nearly five years now. I’ve had the fortune to try some truly amazing brews: Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Supplication? I’ve got one in my mini-fridge. The reason I’m telling you this is because I want to frame my statements here properly. I’ve had good beer, trust me. The best beer I’ve ever had, though, was a Miller Lite.

CATEGORIES: Beer   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  

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