Review: Bourbon County Backyard Rye 2013

Review: Bourbon County Backyard Rye 2013
I finally popped one open from my cellar. S'okay, I have 3 left.

I hope I helped everyone get to some places where they could get at least a taste of the Black Friday beer deals. For myself, waiting a few hours in the cold would probably be very bad for me. Besides, how much longer could I go without taking my kids to see Big Hero 6. Since I already described some of this year’s Goose Island  Bourbon County variants before,  and I’m getting lots of extra clicks this week, I figured I’ll keep the BCS string going and open one from last year’s stash.

The full name of this darlin’ is Bourbon County Brand Stout Backyard Rye. On top of the normal Bourbon County Stout recipe, this batch was brewed with the addition of tree berries that the brewing staff remembered eating in their own back yards: marionberries, boysenberries and mulberries. And instead of bourbon, the beer was aged on rye whiskey barrels. This is my first time at more than a taster of any of the rye variants, so let’s drink and take notes. And a picture or two.:

As you can expect from a strong stout with even a little aging, there is almost no foam, just a slight ring around the surface of the beer. I can hear a bit of fizz while pouring, so there is some carbonation left. The smell is a that warming alcohol in its nose. Not as heady as a bourbon barrel-aged beer, and the berries in the nose help cut down on its power. But it does have a nice smell of jam on muffins because of it.

The taste is somewhat unexpected. Yes, there is some deep black stout in there, made much more mellow by time in a barrel and by the addition of fruit. The fruit is what stands out most, though, on the palate. Think back to childhood or college student-hood visits to IHOP. They’d have pancake syrup in a rack of four dispensers with Original (artificial maple flavor), Strawberry, Blueberry, and Butter Pecan. You know how’d you’d carefully pour one syrup onto each pancake to get its flavor all by itself, then make a mix of all the flavors you liked on the last pancake (help me out here, I can’t be the only one who ate at IHOP that way). So just imagine mixing the blueberry and the strawberry together, but replacing the sugar with beer. That’s what the Backyard Rye is like. And did I mention it’s fizzy and puts some tingle in your toes?

Now I am talking up a beer that came and sold out over a year ago, But you might have noticed that when I list events centered around Bourbon County Stout, including the previous Black Friday events, there is usually a chance to dig into some past vintages, either in a well-kept keg or from some dusty bomber bottles, like the ones I was sent last year for promoting the 2013 Black Friday events. So  I am quite recommending you make sure to get a taste of this when it comes around your way.

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