Summer time in St. Louis means many things to many people. Heat, humidity, hopefully, a pennant race and when it comes to beer, possibly a lager, pilsner or fruity IPA. Those are the beers I think of during the summer months. I tend to stay away from the heavier ABV porters and stouts. But the good thing about loving beer is that there are no rules, so who says I can’t enjoy a heavier beer during the dog days of summer.
Right now I’m at the bar at Charleville’s new tap room in South City sipping on one of the first public pourings of their new River City Stout, an imperial stout aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels.
First off, Four Roses single barrel was the bourbon that got me hooked several years ago, so bias aside, I was excited about his collaboration the moment I saw the invite on Facebook announcing a 4 p.m. tapping.
The story behind the River City Stout is pretty interesting. As you may or may not know, Charleville Vineyard & Microbrewery has been based in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri for years before expanding to South St. Louis this summer. One of their biggest supporters through the years has been the Schnucks store inCape Girardeau, Missouri, which this year was celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Talks between the store and the brewery resulted in Schnucks helping to secure two Four Roses Bourbon barrels and then the fun began. The resulting imperial stout sat in those barrels for about 9 months according to owner Tait Russell. Right now several cases of the beer are en route to that Cape Girardeau Schnucks store where they will be sold exclusively for several weeks.
The River City Stout is on tap right now at Charleville Brewing Company & Tavern located at 2101 Chouteau Avenue in St. Louis. They made exactly one keg, which means about 160 pours in a 13oz. snifter.
But if you can’t make it tonight, you have two more chances this week. Charleville will be bringing a 1/6th barrel to the Barrel Aged Blowout this Wednesday in at Llywelyn’s Pub Webster Groves.
And then again on at the 7th Annual Firkin Fest on August 5th, at International Tap House in Soulard.
We can also expect bottles of River City Stout to be released in mid-September.
Here are my thoughts on this new beer that is ringing in at 11% ABV.
Color & Clarity
Pours almost black or extremely dark brown, thick and frothy.
Carbonation & Head
Nice quarter inch head on the draft pour. Good bubbles in the head and it lasted for several sips.
Bourbon explodes on the nose, along with perhaps some coffee. I’m getting the barre oak perhaps. Woody.
You’ll get a rich and velvety mouthfeel, combined with the solid carbonation that lasting. The Four Roses flavor is there in a pronounces way, but balanced with a robust coffee finish.