Finding Christmas gifts for beer lovers can be pretty easy if you know where to look — lots of local and national breweries alike are coming out with their best boozy brews, the dark porters and stouts that dominate this time of year.
But you’d also better hurry because they won’t stay on shelves long. That includes the likes of Hops & Grain’s newly released Bourbon Barrel-Aged PorterCulture, now in stores in limited quantities.
The 9.6 ABV brew is only the first beer to come out in Hops & Grain’s new bottled series, Volumes of Oak, which showcases the brewery’s barrel program. The sour beer-focused Volumes of Funk is another upcoming series of beers that will be released in bottles.
“Our decision to release the Bourbon Barrel Porter first was mainly due to those barrels being ready first,” Hops & Grain founder Josh Hare said. “My favorite thing about barrel aging is that you don’t get to decide when the barrels are ready; they tell you when they’re ready. And this one just so happened to be ready first.”
It’s essentially Hops & Grain’s Baltic Porter dialed up a notch. According to the brewery’s tasting notes, the beer was aged in “freshly emptied bourbon barrels for 4 months and artfully blended to deliver a beer with rich aromas of vanilla, coconut, dark chocolate and toffee, and a flavor that follows the aromas with a touch of alcohol heat and a pleasingly smooth finish.” It won’t overwhelm you with booziness — the Bourbon Barrel-Aged PorterCulture is a well-balanced delight.
Other Volumes of Oak brews to look out for in the coming months include the Oak and Alt, aged half in bourbon barrels and half in red wine barrels, and the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Alteration.
They’ll be on draft in the Hops & Grain taproom off and on in addition to being in bottles. Enjoy them with a burger from Kick Drum Burgers — a trailer stationed at Hops & Grain Thursdays through Sundays — and you’ll find your new favorite pairing. Kick Drum Burgers is a food truck from the owners of Hi Hat Public House, a beer bar down the street from the brewery.
Other beers to look out for this holiday season:
- Last Stand’s Coffee Porter: This disarming robust brew features cold-brew coffee from local roaster Summer Moon Coffee, and it was bottled, along with Last Stand’s other mainstay, the Belgian Pale Ale, just in time to be stuffed in your stocking.
- Real Ale’s Ghost Eye Oatmeal Stout: The Blanco brewery’s latest boozy collaboration with the band the Sword draws you in with compelling bottle art and aromas of roasted grain, chocolate and coffee.
- Strange Land’s Dewi Sant: Straddling the line between mead and beer, the Braggot style that Strange Land is emulating is full of honey sweetness and vivid hoppiness anchored by a malty backbone.
- Adelbert’s Sundowner: Brewed with champagne yeast, this crisp, effervescent beer is a solid alternative to toasting the new year with a glass of bubbly. It’s got the body and the mouthfeel of a sparkling wine while still maintaining its craft beer soul.