In honor of their 19th anniversary, and because we can never have enough high octane stouts in Buffalo this time of the year, Pearl Street is brewing up some Liquid Courage, Liquid Courage Imperial Oatmeal Stout that is.
This heavy hitter is a 10.2% ABV oatmeal stout to be exact; smooth and rich, with overtones of toast, dark chocolate and booze. The additions of English hops round out the flavor for a complex sipper to keep you warm as subzero temperatures permeate the weather forecast. And with the first snow of the season falling in Buffalo, what better beer would you want in your hand to help ring in the holiday season?
For the past two years, to celebrate their 17th and 18th anniversaries respectively, Pearl Street brewed an imperial version of their flagship Trainwreck Amber Ale, but, as head brewer Chris Herr says, they decided on an imperial stout because it’s been a long time coming.
“We haven’t always brewed an anniversary beer, but as we’re approaching our 20th birthday (and with all of the growth in our city regarding the craft beer scene) it feels appropriate to celebrate the longest continually operating brewery in the city,” Herr says. “What better way than with a special beer? The last two years we brewed an imperial version of our best-selling amber ale, Trainwreck, but this year we thought we would switch things up and try an imperial stout, which we haven’t had on draft in over 10 years.”
“Liquid Courage is brewed with oats, unmalted roasted barley and 3 types of toasted malt for a long, toasty malt character on the palate,” he adds. “The hops we used are relatively aggressive for bittering [in order] to combat all of the residual sugar that comes along with a high ABV beer and woody English Fuggle hops add a complex hop flavor that compliments the roast and toast from the grain, while oatmeal and honey malt round the flavor out for balance and complexity. This is the cabernet sauvignon of beers – dark, rich, and complex with a long finish.”
As for his own favorite imperial stouts, Herr admits that he loves Southern Tier Brewing’s Blackwater series and Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, as well as a number of bourbon barrel aged stouts such as Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island, Black Ops from Brooklyn and Yeti from Great Divide. But for as good as those are, he says there are plenty of quality homegrown stouts to be had right here.
“Shout out to some of my buddies locally who have made excellent ones as well – Resurgence, Community Beer Works, Thin Man and Hamburg Brewing all make an excellent imperial stout (when you can find it!),” he says.
Speaking of barrel aged stouts; Herr says that 11 gallons of Liquid Courage is being aged in bourbon barrels from Niagara Craft Spirits that once held 1808 Gold Bourbon. Be on the lookout for more information on the release of the barrel aged version of Liquid Courage.
You can enjoy some Liquid Courage at the official release party on Tuesday, November 22, 5-8pm with discounted pours available from 5-7:30 downstairs in Brawlers Deli. So whether you need a little liquid courage to get outside and shovel the driveway, hang some Christmas lights or clear the walkway, make Pearl Street’s liquid courage your beverage of choice.
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Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter at @buffbeerleague, on Instagram at @buffalobeerleague and on Facebook at @thebuffalobeerleague.