At some point I will review beers that I find less than fabulous…but this is not one of them.
Last week I made it back over to The Trappist in Oakland after a hiatus of several months (shame on me!).Â As always, there was an amazing selection of beers not only on tap, but also bottled. The Trappist is definitely one of the best beer bars in the bay area. But I digress as I’m here to speak specifically about a beer I had that evening, Mikkeller’s Barrel-Aged Black Hole.
I had tried Mikkeller’s Black Hole a few months back and found it to be a delicious example of an imperial stout. Add that to bourbon barrels and age it…it takes it up a notch!Â The beer itself appeared very dark in color with a slight caramel colored head. The bottle states quite clearly, “brewed with coffee, honey and vanilla”.Â I could definitely smell and taste the coffee and vanilla (oak barrels tend to give off a vanilla flavor and smell) but not so much of the honey.Â The finish is creamy and smooth which makes it very drinkable, although I would say it isn’t quite as smooth as some other barrel-aged beers I’ve had…but that may be due to the age (better to age).
If you happen upon this beer, definitely worth trying. If you happen to see it in a store, buy it and age it for a while as it will only get better.
Four out of five pints!
Not a great pic, I know...but the best I could do without a blinding flash!
AÂ little over a week ago Andrei and I stopped by one of our favorite beer bars in SF, Church Key.Â Despite it being in one of the worst areas in San Francisco to find parking, it has a great selection of beer, a cool atmosphere and to top it off, a killer Foursquare deal.
While perusing the menu we came across Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A on Rye. Seeing that it was a “limited engagement” beer, we opted to go for that.Â Church Key was selling the 22 ounce bottle for $25, but with their foursquare deal we got it for $12.50. SCORE!
This beer had a beautiful amber color to it with an off-white frothy head with a lot of lacing on the glass.Â You can definitely smell the whiskey barrels that it was brewed in (to me it gives an almost vanilla-like aroma) as well as caramel.Â It has a light carbonation to it and the taste is rich and delicious.
This beer is barrel-aged in Sazerac 6 year rye whiskey barrels and is 10% ABV.Â I’m giving it 5 out of 5 pints although maybe I’m being a bit biased because a)I love barrel-aged beer and b)It’s the best I’ve had from Shmaltz so it was a wonderful surprise to find such a tasty brew from a brewery I wasn’t a huge fan to begin with.
Because they’ve limited the release on this I would have to say to buy it if you see it!Â Yes, there are better beers out there but this is a sweet gem from Shmaltz that is worth tasting!