For years, Goose Island has released its scarce Bourbon County Brand Stouts — aged for a year in a bourbon barrel — on Black Friday, giving craft beer aficionados an alternative to the crowds slugging it out at the mall.
Now a Northwest Indiana brewery, which has served customers with trunks full of Bourbon County variants on scavenger hunts across the Region on the day after Thanksgiving over the years, is getting in on the Black Friday action with a Russian Imperial Stout of its own.
This Friday, New Oberpfalz Brewing will release a Russian Imperial Stout with cherries, cocoa nibs and coconut aged in a Russell’s Reserve bourbon barrel at its brewery at 121 E. Main St. in Griffith and at Wise Guys Discount Liquors. Those are the only places the rare beer will be available.
“We are excited to release this beer,” New Oberpfalz owner and brewer Dan Lehnerer said. “This unique (beer) contains 75 percent North American barley and the remaining 25 percent of the beers malt composition is a collection of English rye and European specialty malts. The beer was racked into the Russell’s Reserve barrel on July 5, and had 165 days of residency within the barrel prior to being packaged. The beer pours thick and viscous and comes at you with a bourbon and caramel nose, settling into rich, dark syrup with bright cherry notes, which then transition gradually to toasted sweet coconut before finishing with a caramel and cherry pie finish. It is an incredibly complex beer, the likes of which New Oberpfalz has never brewed.”
Wise Guys, which has locations in Merrillville and Hobart, approached New Oberpfalz in February about the barrel project and chose a 110 Proof Russell’s Reserve Single-Barrel Bourbon that "delivers smooth notes of caramel, oak and hints of cherry."
It's only 8.5 percent alcohol by volume when many craft breweries have put out Russian Imperial Stouts with more extreme 12 percent to 16 percent ABV.
"It blends a fresh Russian Imperial Stout with a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout," Lehnerer said. "Some have found barrel-aged beers too extreme. This is subtle. It doesn't hit you over the head. It's presented on a plate. It comes in a 22-ounce bottle with a gold foil and purple label. It looks very regal."
It will be available on tap at New Oberpfalz starting Wednesday, and will then be made available in bottles to its beer club members on Thursday. The public can buy it at New Oberpfalz or either Wise Guys location on Friday.