Roll out the Bourbon Barrel Stout

Trey White, CEO of Anderson Valley Brewing Co., and Jimmy Russell, master distiller for Wild Turkey, toasted their companies’ first collaboration at a rollout of Anderson Valley’s Bourbon Barrel Stout at the Silver Dollar Lounge in Louisville on Nov. 7.

Anderson Valley’s Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is aged for three months in Wild Turkey barrels, which were chosen because they have a No. 4, or “alligator” char, deep enough to allow the brewery to do two agings in each barrel. The fact that Wild Turkey is located in Anderson County, Ky., is just serendipitous, said White, a native of Nashville, Tenn., who bought the Boonville, Calif., brewery three years ago.

Bourbon barrel aging obviously isn’t new, he said, but whereas many brewers choose to age imperial stouts or other very strong beers, Barney Flats’ percentage of alcohol by volume is relatively low – 5.7 – which makes the resulting beer “very quaffable.” As he pointed to my nearly empty pint glass when he made this point, I clearly agree. This Bourbon Barrel Stout is smooth and sweet, with the vanilla and toffee notes of the bourbon.

Russell said that he and his son, Eddie Russell, visited Anderson Valley a few months ago before making the final decision on the collaboration. They were impressed by what they saw and tasted, he said. “Wild Turkey is a premium product, and they are making premium craft beers,” he said.

Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout will be available on draft in a dozen states by the end of the year, with package sales to follow in March or April 2013. Further collaborations will follow.

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