Happy New Year! With the new year comes cold weather, credit card debt, and of course, resolutions. What are yours? Is it to exercise more? Eat better? Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to try something new? How about a new beer – and one that’s even par for the cold weather course?
I’m a dark beer kind of guy this time of year. Winter ales, stouts, and porters are the ones I typically reach for during the colder months. But, despite being a beer guy, I’ll never turn down a nice glass of red wine. Put those two elements together, and you get Red Thunder (8.5% ABV) – Victory Brewing's unique take on their already popular Baltic Thunder, which is then aged for 3 months in red wine barrels.
They’ve taken the cocoa elements of the Baltic-style porter and added the dryness of the wood barrels, courtesy of Wente Vineyards. Pouring dark with an almost ruby-like color, this one had all the flavors needed to make this hybrid creation as good as it is. Both the aroma and taste featured hints of chocolate, cherries, and red wine, Additionally, there was a subtle hint of coffee, along with the taste of roasted malts, some hop bitterness (a nice surprise), with an oak-like finish.
The kick of red wine was definitely there - more so than anticipated, which definitely gave its complexity. The taste of alcohol was there, but not overbearing, making it easier to drink. The only downside to this brew (and it’s a stretch to even call it a “downside”) would be the body. This was a lighter than I originally hoped for, as most porters have more of a thicker feel. Similar to a bottle of wine, it's corked and packaged in 750ml bottles. A mission to say the least as far as finding it, but well worth it in the end. I think it's safe to say that Victory hit the nail on the head with this one!
One final thought: as mentioned, there was definitely some difficulty in finding this brew. While I was able to find it at the Craft Beer Outlet, if you're not in that area, I would certainly suggest contacting the brewery for a list of distributors. Cheers!