Feb 4, 2015

Hardywood Bourbon Barrel GBS

Last month I reviewed the ridiculously hyped Hardywood Ginger Bread Stout and determined that, while it was darn tasty, the attention it got probably was not deserving. Now, this under-the-radar bourbon barrel aged version of that same beer… now this one… that’s worth at least a little hype.

Bourbon Barrel GBS uses the same base stout, but sees the brewery set it aside in Virginia bourbon barrels — most likely those from A. Smith Bowman Distillery. The result is a beer that is much more deserving of the hysteria that it’s rather plain, in comparison, sibling receives. The seasonal spices and ginger abound, but the additional oak and bourbon influence makes for an otherworldly experience in comparison.


A creamy cap of mocha-colored foam rests atop the opaque, black brew.


Ginger, woody notes, smooth bourbon, cocoa, light roast and distant, holiday spices. The beer just smells amazing.


In a word, incredible. Super mellow bourbon and wood combine to temper the amount of ginger and spice present in the standard GBS. The outcome is a much smoother drinking experience — ginger snap cookies, a light roast, cocoa and the bourbon influence all come together amazingly well.


Bourbon Barrel GBS is the beer that should be hoarded and fought over, limited to one purchase per customer (which, in fact, it was). The company’s baseline GBS is good, but it pales in comparison to what a little time in some bourbon barrels has done. My only regret is that I didn’t make multiple visits to the shop where I found it to get more &#151 cause, you know, I could only buy one bottle at a time.

Rating: 4.5/5

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