This past Sunday was spent doing an in-depth tour of Houston’s own Karbach Brewing, walking amongst the vats, learning about the brewing process and their seasonal varietals yadda, yadda, it mostly involved drinking a lot at their in-house beer garden. One of those tried was the highly-recommended Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter which easily took best beer of the day and is a new favorite.
The BBH is an imperial stout aged in used barrels from Four Roses Bourbon; so we’re talking about a beer that’s decadent and strong enough (11.5% ABV) to get in the ring with whatever the Trappists throw its way. I picked up strong chocolate notes, some vanilla, and of course a hint of the bourbon – but not overpoweringly, rather enough to give a real depth of flavor. I’ve been burned before by beers aged in bourbon casks that come out tasting like someone simply poured a shot of Jim Beam into your can and called it a day but that is decidedly not the case with the BBH.1 Originally part of the brewery’s F.U.N. series – batches of experimental beers created, sold and then never made again – the BBH’s popularity has guaranteed a limited release several times a year. Do yourself a serious favor and pick up a bottle, or a growler, or a case, or really anything you can get.
Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter
Karbach Brewing Co.
1. Though I’m reminded of a week I spent in Kyiv. Unable to read Ukrainian, whenever I went to shops I would just buy the beer with the coolest label, which resulted in me buying the same brand consistently; and I’d always wonder why just 2 of these 12 oz. bottles would have such a large affect on me. Maybe traveling so much had just taken it out of me, who knows? It wasn’t until the end of my stay that a laughing Ukrainian explained that I had been buying one of the shittiest beers available, something from which to get drunk and nothing else. At the brewery the bottles of this dreck are filled to the base of the neck with beer, then the neck is filled with vodka – ta-da!
I continued buying the beer.