Hammerheart Barrel-aged Dublin Raid, Bourbon Barrel-aged Peat Smpoked Irish Red Ale, 7.5% ABV. Hammerheart Brewing, Lino Lakes, MN.
So, the other day I had my first Thursday night off since I started my new job, and was looking for something to do. I also hadn't been to Hammerheart in all that time, so I called Dave and we made plans. If you've read some of my previous posts, you might have come across my desire to diminish the number of growlers from different breweries that I'm hanging on to. Dave, though, has tried even harder, discovering exactly which breweries will take a growler back, give a refund for the return, trade them out for their own, or whatever their policy might be. I checked with Dave, and he told me that Hammerheart will take back their growlers, as well as fill anyone else's with their own beer.
I took my three Hammerheart growlers into the taproom with the intention of swapping them out for the credit on two of them, taking one of their beers home. This is always a hard decision. So many great beers. One determining factor would be the cost. They range from $15 to $30, and the more expensive ones are those I want to drink the most. It's hard to justify spending the money, but somehow I did it.
|There's a signpost ahead...Hammerheart is here!|
Then, Nathaniel Chapman, co-owner, reminded me that they had 750 ml growlers. And they're beautiful and perfect. These are most appropriate for Hammerheart, more than for any other local brewery. The prices are right, too.And I can finish those big beers in the small growlers in only one night. Right on.
|My partially finished flight at Hammerheart. Clockwise from top left: Skol Och Hati smoked chocolate stout, Thor's Porter, BA Dublin Raid, and Surtur's Flame.|
And Dave poked fun at me, because I was going to reduce my number of growlers, and I was trading in 3 for 2. Well, I am reducing the number by one, and those 2 will take up less space, and also, how can I only choose one beer, among all those great ones? If I were to do it his way, I'd return all the Hammerhearts and have them fill a different one that can't be exchanged. But I don't want to drastically reduce my collection that much. He's down to 4 growlers, by the way, and this reduction brings me down to 40. I don't think that he started at 52, though.
|Just for fun, a peek at the menu this weekend.|
Now, it's time to drink some Barrel-aged Dublin's Raid.
Appearance: dark, fully opaque, with a slender tan head above.
Aroma: Bourbon spills out. Vanilla, coconut, some leather, cherries, chocolate, with hints of smoke down below.
Taste: Sweetness first, the big bourbon factor, which I am highly susceptible to, chimes in the loudest. The sweet stuff first, the whiskey, vanilla, fruit, etc., and then the smoke rises up just enough. I can't really get a handle on the base beer, but I don't think one could expect an Irish Red to really stand apart from the bourbon in this barrel-aging.
Okay, wait a minute. Now, it's coming through, I can taste a sweetish and malty Irish Red somewhere down there, down underneath the peat smoked, and way below the bourbon barrel. Complexity, thy name is BA DR. Mmm. Yum. Just about right on the money. Full-bodied, rich, long finish, and highly enjoyable.
I am liking this, every lovable layer of it.