What sorcery is this? With what demon did these brewers sign a contract surely dooming them all to an eternity of torment? Firestone Walker seemingly does not brew a beer that is less than world class. Velvet Merkin is another in a long line of these jaw-dropping beers, this one a potent oatmeal stout aged for a year in bourbon barrels. The smooth, velvet-like (natch) mouthfeel glides down your throat so effortlessly you almost don’t notice the oak undertones, faint sting of bourbon or soft kiss of vanilla in the aftertaste (or the fact that it’s named Velvet Merkin). Touches of milk chocolate and mild cherry play in the background, adding to the layers of taste. Proof that complexity doesn’t have to impact drinkability, this is a glorious example of the beauty of barrel aging. Try it at locations that specialize in limited Firestone Walker releases.
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PW's Year of Beer: Anchor Porter