The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice

by Jim Lundstrom

I have a weakness for blackberries. This relative of the raspberry is a nutrient-dense flavor bomb. Ancient Greeks recognized it a hugely healthy berry, and in 18th century Europe is was known as the “gout berry” for its reputed ability to relieve symptoms of that form of inflammatory arthritis that wreaks havoc with one’s big toe.

While I love raspberries, blackberries are on an entirely different level – the taste and texture set them on a pedestal for me. I wish I had an endless supply of organic blackberries.
Whenever I see any sort of blackberry beverage, I must try it. Such was the case recently with Kentucky Blackberry Barrel Porter, an 8.3 percent imperial porter aged in bourbon-soaked oak barrels.
Oh, what a mighty nice porter this is. The subtle blackberry flavors are locked in a Kentucky two-step dance with the chocolatey porter. Five malts and a single hop – Centennial – are used in the making of this fine beer. The malts include 2 Row Pale, Dark Munich, Crystal 80L, Chocolate and Carapils. The presence of the Chocolate malt is profound, yet not overpowering.

I search for any oakiness, but it escapes me, and that’s OK. I have no problem with it taking a far back pew to the dominant flavors of chocolate-blackberry porter.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ales are the product of Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., which the website tells us is “one of the few joint brewing and distilling operations in the world.” It was founded in 1999 by Irish entrepreneur Pearse Lyons. He also owns Pearse Lyons Distillery at St. James, a boutique Irish whiskey distillery in a 12th century church in Dublin, and Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery “nestled deep in the Appalachian foothills of Eastern Kentucky.”

Road trip!

In addition to the Blackberry Porter, they do a barrel-aged Coffee Stout, Cream Ale and their flagship Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. What I’d really like to try is their Kentucky Barrel Tequila Wheat. I think tequila barrels would put an interesting twist on a wheat beer.
But getting back to this Blackberry Barrel Porter – if I had the gout (once called “the rich man’s disease” because it was thought to be caused by eating a surfeit of rich food that only a wealthy man could afford), I would consider drinking a Blackberry Barrel Porter every single day. Take that, gout!