Jul 29, 2014

Hardywood Park Bourbon Cru

Richmond’s Hardywood Park has been cranking out great beer the past couple of years. Whether it be the tasty, year-round Singel or this monstrous barrel aged Belgian-style quadrupel, the company has become one of the premiere breweries in Virginia. As stated Bourbon Cru is a big beer. Weighing in at a hefty 12% ABV, this beer has been aged in freshly drained, A. Smith Bowman Distillery barrels — some of which are over a decade old.

I actually first encountered this beer (or at least a version of it) back 2012 on a visit to the brewery. The stack of barrels I documented in the embedded tweet in July of that year.

I thoroughly enjoyed the brew then, although, if memory serves me right, it was perhaps less refined then. Now, this beer is a decadent combination of Belgian goodness and all that is good with bourbon barrel aging.


The brew pours a slightly hazy, yet vibrant orange-tinted copper in color with an extremely short-lived, thin layer of beige foam.

Hardywood Park Bourbon Cru photo


Rich carmel, vanilla, distant wood and a moderate amount of bourbon join hints of peppery yeast, malt sweetness and a lingering bit of booze.


Like I said, this is a big beer and it brings tons of boozy warmth from start to finish. A solid amount of bourbon and vanilla wash over the tongue on the back of this moderately viscous beer. A hint of raisin and plum, wood, burnt caramel, a light char and decadent richness contribute as main players in the flavor. This is definitely a brew made for sipping.

Hardywood Park Bourbon Cru photo


I don’t recall how potent this beer was when I first had it a couple of years ago, but I believe this bottled version is a point or two higher. It’s rich, boozy and decadent — made for enjoying slowly. This particular barrel was enjoyed on a relatively warm May afternoon, but would be more suited for colder Winter nights, book in hand. Good thing I saved a couple of bottles.

Rating: 4.25/5

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