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Double feature time! Thanks to my loyal craft beergeek buddies for camping out and being so willing to part with a few bottles for me. Cheers!
Kentucky Christmas Morning
10.6%. Gingerbread stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels with locally roasted coffee beans from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond , VA. Before bottling, the barrel-aged stout is cold filtered through heaps of freshly cracked locally roasted coffee beans. Pours appetizing brown with an amazing one-finger khaki head that retains extremely well throughout the drinking session. Aromatics showcase the nostalgic joys of Christmas Morning – gingerbread, cinnamon, eggnog, cumin, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar, and some of that bourbon goodness. Hardywood’s base Gingerbread stout is transformed through months of aging in bourbon barrels reaching new levels of maturity with layers of vanilla, coconut, and toasted oak reflected in the flavors. Solid medium-sized mouthfeel with very good carbonation retention. A finely crafted beer from Hardywood that continues to push the envelope on the experimentation side of the house. The Kentucky Christmas Morning is liquid proof that good things come to those who wait; and this is arguably one of my top Christmas beers hands down. theBeerAuthority: A
Apple Barrel Brandy GBS
10.4%. Gingerbread stout aged in Apple Brandy Barrels from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, VA. This is yet another special release from the same day that the Kentucky Christmas Morning was distributed at a brewery-only event. Pours a brown, near black, body along with a thin off-white head one finger head that diminishes to a third but retains a swirly strong head vertigo-like presence very well throughout. This beer marries the silky smoothness of their Gingerbread Stout with the cinnamon kissed oak staves of Apple Brandy barrels. This imperial milk stout sings with hints of warm honey, chocolate, and ginger notes within the nose and flavor profiles. There also is a strong granny smith apple presence in the nose with very little hint of barrel oak which was a tad disappointing. There is an effect of a sticky and mouth-puckering mouthfeel. Overall, it is a fun beer and could be vastly improved with additional barrel aging time while retaining an equally strong presence of apple-based flavors. This is a solid B plus in the winter warmer category for me, which basically represents that I’d select this beer over 90% of similar style beers out there. theBeerAuthority: B