Like most whiskey aficionados, the folks at James E. Pepper also love a great beer. Particularly fond of barrel-aged brews, they decided to have some fun and make their own beer. Partnering with a great craft brewery, the Beltway Brewing Co. in Sterling, VA, they began working to create a flavor profile that would develop best in barrels that previously held James E. Pepper “1776” Rye Whiskey. The goal was to create a rich and flavorful barrel-aged beer that wasn’t too heavy. Mission accomplished!
The beer pours a hazy deep amber color with ruby highlights when viewed against direct light. The one finger tan colored head dissipates at a steady rate but leaves behind a light lacing a top the beer and the side of the glass.
Boozy aromas of rye leap from the glass and are met with notes of toasted malts. Chocolate and vanilla aromas follow. Sweet toffee, molasses and caramel notes lead into aromas of dark dried fruits like raisins and figs.
The palate offers a somewhat sticky mouthfeel with rye whiskey notes popping up from the first sip through the finish. Toasted malt and nut notes provide a stable backbone. Sweet notes of toffee and caramel make an appearance followed by chocolate and vanilla notes that swirl across the palate. The dark dried fruit notes from the bouquet offer up another layer of flavor. A touch of oak is also noticeable.
A great brew that most meets the goals James E. Pepper set out to accomplish. Flavorful and complex without being to heavy or cloying. The ABV is a high (10.2% ABV) making it great sipper to share with family and friends. Try pairing it with aged Gouda, smoked brisket or chocolate lava cake.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints