Stoutmeister here, palate intact after last night’s bruising pair of special release beers. While Brandon was busy indulging in the Tower of Sour at Back Alley, the rest of us were scattered about. Derek and I visited Two Fools for the special tapping of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Coffee Stout. This was followed by a late-night visit to La Cumbre for the full release of the 505 2013, the second five-brewery collaboration beer.
Actually, Franz Solo had his 505 over at Il Vicino, then he came over and met Shilling, myself, and a slew of Shilling’s friends at La Cumbre. Regardless of where you had the 505, it is the same beer at those breweries, plus Chama River, Marble, and Nexus.
So first up, the Bourbon County Coffee Stout. Holy shit. That about sums up this beer. I don’t like to use profanity when describing beers, but this fits. Goose Island has created a 14.2-percent ABV monstrosity. That is not a typo. Two Fools served it up only in small glasses, limited to one per customer. Thank goodness, because this beer could knock you flat without breaking a sweat. The bourbon flavor smacks you in the front; it almost feels like you’re doing a shot instead of drinking a beer. That being said, it is a good, smoky, sweet flavor that warms you up from the get-go. The coffee flavor is all on the back end. It almost tasted more like the strong coffee you would typically find in Europe instead of here in the United States. Derek said he could not taste much stout flavor, but it was nestled in the middle. In terms of mouthfeel this one felt like a good, smooth imperial stout.
I would not recommend this to the faint of heart. If you’re a stout lover, or just love bourbon, give this one a try. As far as I know it is not available in New Mexico (yet) for sale in stores. If that changes we will let you know. It sold out fairly quickly, however, so for those that got to Two Fools too late or were just unable to attend, you will have another crack at this beer next Friday at Billy’s Longbar on San Mateo north of Montgomery.
Next up, the 2013 edition of the 505. My favorite thing about this beer was when I was looking at La Cumbre’s infamous beer board, under the IBU category, the LC staff simply wrote “stupid” instead of a number. So yeah, this thing is a bitter, burly hop bomb. It lies somewhere between an imperial IPA and an imperial red. It is a good beer if you want to sip slowly through the night, or if you want a good ABV blast without paying for multiple pints. Initially it will almost overwhelm you with its bitterness, but after a while your palate will get used to it and it becomes rather enjoyable. Remember, this is coming from a guy who would never describe himself as a hophead.
Franz Solo shared his thoughts on the 505: “What a monster of a beer from the first aroma, the very light and crisp looking head, and that deep deep amber color you know you’re in for a treat. This one is a creeper, catches up to you when you least expect it, i.e. when you stand up. Goes down very very smooth and wowser it packs a wallop!”
If some of the other Crew members who tried the Bourbon County or the 505 last night have something to add, we’ll get them in here later. Some of us have to head down to Lobo football practice to interview Kasey Carrier for Lindy’s Magazine’s UNM season preview, then head over to the Lobo baseball game to watch the No. 24-ranked team in the country extend its lead atop the Mountain West. Did I say “us?” I meant me, of course.
Hopefully I’ll make it to the tail end of Il Vicino’s Double Barrel event, but if not, have fun out there, Burque beer lovers!