Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reviews: Lexington Brewery Kentucky Ale & Bourbon Barrel Ale

Many thanks to Jeremy Wells of fairelescourses.net for bringing me a couple of beer back from his home state of Kentucky.  I'll be honest, when I think Kentucky beer I think first of Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but it turns out Founder's isn't even in Kentucky.  They are actually in Michigan, so where does that leave Kentucky?  Uh... honestly I didn't know.  Until Jeremy brought me a couple of beers from the Lexington Brewery (@kentuckyale) I don't think I could have named a single Kentucky brewery, and that's a shame. 

First up was the Kentucky Ale, which is labeled as an English Pale Ale, definitely not the style I was expecting from the official beer of the World Equestrian Games, but hey... that's what they wanted to brew!  
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass, it's a pale amber color with a small white head. This one comes in a respectable 5.3% alcohol, which is probably right on for the style.

The aroma is definitely hoppy with a lot of sweet notes to it.  The taste has a stronger malt base, and not as much hops as were on the nose.  I was expecting a little more hops here, but that's alright, English Pale Ales are usually a little more mild than the American versions. 

Easy to drink, medium body, it's a decent beer but nothing crazy here. 
My Rating: B
Up next was the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which I incorrectly assumed was a bourbon barrel aged version of their Kentucky Ale.  Nope, it's actually a different style altogether, an 8% alcohol American Strong Ale that was aged in bourbon barrels. Well okay then... they fooled me but I guess they are marketing to people in Kentucky who want to know they are drinking a local product.  Can't say I blame anyone for that.

For this one, I went with an imperial pint glass... the brew is a deep yellow color with a small white head. It really was lighter and less bubbly than expected from such a strong beer. 

The aroma is more like bourbon than beer to me. Strong alcohol notes with caramel and vanilla. There's a little bitter hop in there but not a crazy amount. The flavor is more of the same, strong bourbon flavors and not a lot of beer. It's obviously a beer because it's just not burning down the throat but it's hard to pick up specific beer characteristics.

It's a good beer if you like bourbon, which I do. Just be warned that the bourbon dominates, not compliments.  This is pretty similar to the Lazy Magnolia Southern Gentleman in that regard, as these are two of the more bourbon-heavy barrel-aged beers I've tried.

My Rating: B-

Thanks again to Jeremy for bringing these down for me to try!  I can't say that either blew me away, but neither were disappointing either.  Cheers!