Year of New Beer: Namakemono, Country Boy Brewing/Baird Brewing (Lexington, KY/Japan)

Written By: Dion on 06/06/2016

Fittingly, this one is a bit of a "ninja" release, dropped by the Boys with very little fanfare. I think if you were to ask the guys for their biggest influences, the name Brian Baird would be high on the list. So it's only natural that as Country Boy grows and experiences increasing success they would invite the folks from Baird over from time to time and collaborate on some brews. Namakemono is a dry hopped American strong ale that has slumbered in Bulleit Rye barrels, with the end result being quite good. The nose starts earthy and hoppy, with charred bread crust and hints of citrus pith layered over a light caramel malt that develops with warmth. On the tongue, the hop presence is striking, providing an excellent balance to the rye whiskey spice. Remarkable given that this has been bottled for nearly five months. Field grass, pine, and citrus peel all work in concert with a light caramel and a warming alcohol to present almost as a hefty black IPA. This is very well done. I have no idea how many bottles are available down at the taproom, but it's worth stopping to find out.