Brooklyn Improved Old Fashioned

I heard about this beer on one of the beer podcasts I listen to. I love whiskey cocktails, so despite the high price tag, I knew I needed to give this a shot.


ABV: 12.8%

Style: Rye Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Here at Brooklyn Brewery, we are, of course, beer people. But we are also ‘drinks people,’ and many inspirations come to us out of the deep and wondrous world of cocktails. While surely invented earlier, the modern cocktail emerged in the 19th century. The original—the ur-cocktail, if you will—was the Old Fashioned. A deceptively simple drink consisting of whiskey, sugar, and bitters (stirred, not shaken), usually with a bit of citrus peel, a good Old Fashioned remains a thing of austere beauty. By the 1860s, some bartenders, Jerry Thomas (aka ‘The Professor’) chief among them, became household names in America. A mixologist (believe it or not, the moniker is actually old) looking to make a name for himself would often make a change to an existing cocktail, perhaps adding absinthe, or curaçao, or a dash of maraschino liqueur. This new version would be rakishly referred to as ‘improved,’ as the upstart barman fervently hoped to eclipse his predecessor. Well, we’ve gone this idea one better. We have ‘improved’ the Old Fashioned by making it into a beer. Witness our strong rye beer, suffused with various spices and peels! Wonder at its long blissful rest in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey oak barrels! Marvel at its clever infusions of bitter gentian root and enticing botanicals! And then enjoy, as you are greeted by the silky spice of rye, the firm herbal bitterness, the brightness of citrus, and the sweet warmth of oak. Sit in your favorite chair, surround yourself with your favorite people, and imbibe this, our latest Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment. We can nearly guarantee that you shall feel that your day has, in fact, improved.”

Random: I loved Garrett Oliver’s book. It really opened my eyes to beer and food pairings.

This beer poured with a quarter finger of white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with high carbonation. The nose was incredibly fragrant and complex. It started with rye spice and orange zest. Oak came through as well with maraschino cherry juice and orange oil. The taste started with warm vanilla and oak. It quickly went into orange zest and orange oil. Rye came through as well, but not as strong as the nose. There was a spice to it that was assertive. The maraschino cherry juice was there too, but not as strong as the nose. The body was thick, but the high carbonation made this really drinkable. It had a lengthy finish with rye and oak. A bottle of this was $23.99 ($1.09 per ounce), which I found to be quite expensive. This was a really unique, interesting beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

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