Well, it's Dark Lord Day here in the upper Midwest, a day when the lucky chosen who made it through the opaque online ticketing process line up in Munster, Indiana, to stock up on a very big, very sweet Russian imperial stout from 3 Floyds called Dark Lord. My wife and I gave it a shot this year, but the ticket site stymied our efforts.
But what I did instead -- and in truth, I'd been planning it for months -- was hold a stout tasting at my house, with two-thirds of the Beersball crew. I'd been wanting to taste some of my cellared bourbon-barrel stouts side-by-side for some time, but didn't want to get myself righteously hammered by doing it solo. Easter seemed like the perfect day to roll back the beer cave door and pull out a few beauties.
I won't bore you with a pour-by-pour run-down; you can check out my Untappd commentary for specific tasting notes. What I'll tell you is that if you can acquire even a couple singles, to say nothing of a four-pack, of some of these slightly chase-y beers -- Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Founders KBS, Bell's Black Note -- as well as the local superstar, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout, you'll be well-rewarded by setting them aside for cellaring.
(This is not news to the beer geeks among us, but for those of you just getting into it, trust me, it's as close to sage advice as I can offer on any subject.)
The 2011 Central Waters was really an excellent experience, but what startled me was how well the 2013 Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout aged. The cherry started out (when the beer was fresh) very potent, too sweet for some. After a year, the flavor was still there, and still forefront, but incorporated just. so. nicely with the rest of the beer. It was a head-shaker, it was so good. I'm thrilled that CW is releasing it again for 2014 -- this coming week, in fact -- and I hope it continues to resist Peruvian Morning-itis.
So for those of you waiting in the Dark Lord line over in Munster, cheers. For those of you, like me, who can't be there this year, don't sweat it too hard. A pretty amazing experience can be had for less time and effort, and in your very own home at that. You don't even have to be ecclesiastically sassy to do it -- though in truth, it doesn't hurt.