It was less than a year ago that we reviewed the first batch of this exciting collaboration between (otherwise unrelated) Breckenridge Brewery and Breckenridge Distillery in which they shared barrels used for their beer and whiskey. (As a refresher: Breckenridge Brewery brewed an Imperial Oatmeal Stout which was aged in Breckenridge Distillery Bourbon barrels. After aging, the beer was returned to tanks and the barrels were returned to Breckenridge Distillery, filled with Breckenridge Whiskey to finish for a year.)
Now we’re back to try batch 2. Let’s see how they stand up.
Breckenridge Brewery Buddy Pass Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout Batch 2 – In the first release of this collaboration, the barrel-aged stout ended up too sweet, but this year, there’s a better balance. It is still a sweet beer, but no longer cloying, and there is certainly no lack of flavor as bold, creamy notes of bittersweet chocolate, fig jam, maraschino cherry, and toffee come pouring out of the glass. At one point, there is a bit of a cough syrup note, but it’s minor. The close, as with the first batch, shows some tasty graham cracker as the chocolate notes disappear. With its high proof, bold flavor, and thick, syrupy mouthfeel, this is a beer that’ll keep you warm through the winter. 11% abv. B+ / $14 per four-pack
Breckenridge Distillery Buddy Pass Whiskey Imperial Stout Cask Batch 2 – The nose is fairly restrained, offering notes of dusty mocha, cinnamon, sandalwood, cereal grain, and a touch of caramel. As with the last batch, the palate is much more expressive, showing lots of semi-sweet chocolate and fig jam. With some time, caramel and cereal grains add to the experience. There’s some sweetness here, but it isn’t over the top, and the finish is fairly long as the caramel note slowly disappears. This is overall quite impressive. Despite its high proof and stout cask aging, this is a complex and refined whiskey. 114.7 proof. A- / $55
On a lark, I tried the two side-by-side, and the collaboration goes deeper. The flavors in each complement the other beautifully. Chocolate builds on chocolate, caramel notes get deeper, and the creaminess of the beer balances the power of the whiskey. On the cusp of another Boston winter, I think I’ve found the boilermaker that could get me through the coldest nights of the year.