Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Missouri has been at the craft beer game since the late 1980s, turning out a long list of classic brews and several unique, seasonal expressions that lean heavy on the fruit component. Most of their barrel-aged brews are reserved for their Limited Release series which is where we find this bottle, a spiced imperial stout aged in apple brandy barrels and dubbed, rather cutely, Brandy Land. Specifically, this is a cinnamon-infused, double-mashed imperial stout that aged for 12 to 24 months in casks that held bourbon and apple brandy. Sounds like the perfect fall brew, so let’s check it out.
The beer pours a deep brown and amber-tinged color with minimal head. The aroma is well-balanced with the apple and cinnamon notes detectable but not overpowering the beer’s rich malty and chocolaty backbone. It’s pretty approachable for a barrel-aged brew, creamy without being too heavy and not excessively boozy despite the respectable gravity. Again, the apple notes are well-integrated and ditto for the cinnamon infusion which blends nicely with stout’s gentle bite and slight licorice notes. The malt and apple brandy work surprisingly well here, especially on the finish which sees a mix of lingering dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and stewed apples. In the increasingly crowded world of barrel-aged stouts, this one stands out, both for its uniqueness and its quality. Fall in a glass, folks.
A / $15 per 4-pack / boulevard.com