Here’s an installment from our new series, Ballard on Beer, written by T. Ballard Lesemann, the only beer-certified music editor in all the land:
Over the last two years, local microbrewery Coast Brewing Co. has concocted and distributed nearly a dozen big-flavored ales — most famously, the highly bitter and citrusy HopArt IPA and the crisply malty 32/50 Kölsch.
Last week, they unveiled another boldly creative seasonal brew: a barrel-aged Blackbeerd Imperial Stout.
In general, this style of stout is on the strong end, and usually features an intensely sweet, almost burnt malt flavor. Brewers and co-owners David Merritt and Jaime Tenny put a new twist on the style when they recently obtained several oak barrels from the Jack Daniel’s distillery, which retained the woody and smoky character of the liquor and imparted it to the Blackbeerd stout as it aged in the same barrels.
According to the brewers, this one’s lighter in body than some might expect, despite its mighty strength of 9.3 percent alcohol by volume.
“As dark as the legend of Blackbeerd himself, behold the Imperial Stout,” they state in a promotional release. “Sweet malts battle roasted grain on the decks of yer tongue. Like a blast from a cannon, hop are followed by smoked malt. Hold on to yer booty.”
While Coast normally kegs its beer for distribution, the Jack Daniels Barrel Aged Blackbeerd Imperial Stout will enjoy a limited-edition bottled release in tall 22-ounce bottles with a wax dipped top (a la Maker’s Mark). Downtown craft beer store Charleston Beer Exchange (14 Exchange St.) currently has a limited supply on hand.