Follow along with our Beer of the Month selections on our Untappd profile. See past Beer of the Month picks here.
When selecting my Beer of the Month this time, I knew I wanted to choose something aged in bourbon barrels, just to stick with this month’s whiskey theme. But there are plenty of fantastic options. Just last month at the Hibrewnation beer festival in Harrisburg, I managed to get a sample of Sierra Nevada’s stunning barrel-aged Narwhal. And there’s always Goose Island’s Bourbon County beers – an amazing series of stouts and a spectacular barleywine. Honestly, the list of barrel-aged options seems to be constantly growing.
But I opted for Black Ops, a mysterious offering from Brooklyn Brewery. The New York brewers are clearly having fun with the mythology of this one – visit their website, and you’ll find an empty space in the lineup where the Black Ops bottle should appear. “Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist,” the PR blurb on the bottle begins, before going on to describe the details of this alleged brew. The specs? Well, if it existed, it would be an imperial stout aged four months in bourbon barrels, then bottled flat and re-fermented with champagne yeast.
INTO THE BLACK
Trust me, this beer is worth the hype. It may be expensive ($21-$25 for a 750ml cork-topped bottle, depending where you buy) and it may be rare (very limited bottling each year; grab it while you can). But if you find it, you’ll be glad you did. It has the coffee and chocolate notes you’d expect from an imperial stout, as well as the boozy warmth from something that weighs in at 11.5 percent ABV. And of course, all those woody, aromatic bourbon flavors are infused into the beer, giving a new depth to each sip. Yet somehow, this beer isn’t syrupy. I don’t know if it’s the champagne yeast or something else, but Brooklyn Black Ops drinks like a lighter-bodied beer – which was a really pleasant surprise.
Are you a barrel-aged beer drinker? Tell us your favorite below.