June Craft Beer Report – Country Boy Brewing, West 6th Brewing, Blue Stallion Brewing, Alltech, Haint Blue Brewery, Fairhope Brewing
Whether a brewery sends me a courtesy sample, I visit a brewery on a press trip, or I stop in a brewery because beer, I sample a lot of beer. Each month, I summarize my favorites in a craft beer report.
It’s been a heck of two months filled with travel and a bit more freelance work than I was expecting (which is a good thing). Thus, I’m getting my June Craft Beer Report out at the end of July. This was a fun one to write as I sampled some amazing beers on my trips to Lexington, Kentucky and Mobile, Alabama. Oddly enough, the beers that stood at the most fell towards the heavy side – not something I would typically drink in the heat of winter.
Blue Stallion Brewing Smoked Lager (Draught, 5.7% ABV, 19 IBU)
Where: Blue Stallion Brewing in Lexington, Kentucky
Pairing: A flight of Blue Stallion Brewing beers
Notes: Blue Stallion Brewing’s Smoked Lager is one of the closest beers I’ve encountered to an authentic Rauchbier. The smoked malts bring that meaty, campfire flavor profile that brought me back to my trip to Bamberg. The beer finishes with a crisp, German lager finish that makes it an all-around perfect beer for food pairing. In fact, why not pair it with Smokey Pimiento BLT from Dad’s Favorite Deli, located in Blue Stallion’s tap room.
Country Boy Brewing Infinite Sadness Barrel Aged Black IPA (Draught, 11.5% ABV)
Where: Country Boy Brewing in Lexington, Kentucky
Pairing: A flight of Country Boy Brewing beers
Notes: Normally I snub my nose at barrel aged IPAs. The sweet bourbon notes often clash with the hops, no matter what direction the bitterness falls. I gave Infinite Sadness from Country Boy Brewing a try though as it was a black IPA. The strong malt backbone united all the flavors. I caught notes of licorice and bourbon with a clean hop finish. It was an easy drinker given the beer’s high ABV.
West 6th Brewing Snake Cake Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (Draught, 13% ABV)
Where: West Sixth Brewing in Lexington, Kentucky
Pairing: A backstage tour of the brewery
Notes: This is a very special beer released from West 6th Brewing in celebration of their anniversary. West 6th takes their Snake Eyes Imperial Stout and ages it in bourbon barrels with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. The beer delivers a complexity of flavors that reminds you of German chocolate cake with notes of bourbon, cherry, coffee, and chocolate. This is a limited run beer, so get it now before it’s too late. As of publishing, West 6th Brewing lists this beer on draught in their barrel room.
Alltech Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale (Draught, 8% ABV)
Where: Alltech in Lexington, Kentucky
Pairing: A rushed tasting during their brewery and distillery tour
Notes: Alltech’s summer seasonal Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale spends six weeks in the barrel, enough time to provide subtle hints of bourbon to balance out the sweet peach and vanilla notes of this beer. The creamy mouth feel makes it a great front porch sipper. Since Alltech doesn’t have a traditional taproom you can pop into – tastings are only available as part of the tour, look for the Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale at retailers around town.
Haint Blue Brewery IPA (Bottle, 6.6% ABV)
Where: On the loading dock of what will be Haint Blue Brewery in Mobile, Alabama
With: An interview with Haint Blue Brewery’s founder, Keith Sherill
Notes: While Haint Blue Brewery isn’t officially open yet, they are contract brewing their flagship IPA at Lazy Magnolia, and it is widely available throughout Mobile. The IPA delivers a balance of citrus over candied malt that make it an easy drinking IPA for Mobile’s hot and humid climate. It’s not a hop bomb, but in the midst of Mobile’s summer, you don’t want a hop bomb.
Fairhope Brewing HB-176 Barrel Aged Double IPA (Draught, 8.4% ABV)
Where: Fairhope Brewing in Fairhope, Alabama
With: A flight of Fairhope Brewing beers
Notes: Fairhope Brewing brewed and named this beer in celebration of the passage of Alabama House Bill 176, which allowed breweries to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The double IPA is aged in Chardonnay barrels, which makes for a complex, unique beer. The low malt structure allows the oak and wine notes to shine through with a piney, resinous finish. It drinks as a celebratory beer should.