Beer Review: Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb!
Style: American Imperial Stout
Drink if you like: An explosion of flavors not unlike a bomb going off in front of your face.
For some of you reading this blog, Prairie Artisan Ales may be old news. Or perhaps you regard them as new, considering they haven’t been around too long. Or maybe you haven’t heard of these Prairie guys. Either way, one thing is for sure: their beer is amazing.
We Arkansas craft beer geeks are a tough bunch… Considering just a few short years ago, our world class beer selection was scanty at best. Knife fights over some of the last craft beers were not uncommon. But as we all know, things change and stab wounds heal. Just as we were celebrating gaining access to some of the world’s most amazing Belgian beers, a little project popped up just across our western border. Two brothers started something amazing; they started from scratch and ended up with beer that is considered world class. All of a sudden we have a neighbor who brews beer ranked alongside folks like Alesmith, Russian River, Hill Farmstead, Bells, Cantillon and more. Recently they were voted into the Top 100 Brewers IN THE WORLD.
One of their creations was among the most wanted beers of 2013: Bomb! This particular beer was very hard to come by considering it is such a blockbuster beer. The reason Bomb! has been such a blockbuster beer is because of its complexity and depth of flavors. Beer geeks seem to intensely enjoy a bold combination of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, pepper (think heat) and other subtle spices. Bomb! combines these flavor profiles in an exceptional way, hence a large demand with little supply. However, we have good news. Our friendly neighbors are increasing production and kindly shipping plenty of this beer to us Arkansans. It’s important to note that their supply STILL won’t meet demand. Luckily, Oklahoma’s beer distribution laws make it complicated for this brewery to allocate Bomb! to Oklahomans- while in comparison it is easy to sell to Arkansas. What does this mean? Arkansas has finally lucked out. There are tons of hungry craft beer geeks all over America and the world who can’t get their hands on this beer – yet here it is sitting on our shelves!
The hardcore beer geeks have all had it. The folks that are interested in beer have heard about it. To those who are just getting into craft beer: this may be the game changer. This beer is a Christmas present to Arkansas. It’s something special; it’s a beer packed with layers upon layers of flavor. It’s big, bold and in your face. It’s something that must be taken seriously. Once you dive into this beer and experience the wonderful complexity, you may feel a joy like opening that Christmas present you always wanted. So now let’s wake up and scamper down to the tree in our Christmas jammies…. and rip open some awesomeness:
Bomb! pours a beautiful viscous black color and is crowned with a mocha cap. Some wonderful tiny magic bubbles tells you that these guys know how to craft a thick Imperial Stout. Lean in and you will smell dark chocolate, wonderful espresso and coffee notes, some vanilla, and if you sniff hard enough you’ll find little notes of brown sugar, cinnamon and some earthy aromas. That’s enough – no time to think about how well all these flavors combine in the nose! Indulge in the beer and you will come across a mixture of dark and milk chocolate which combine intricately and skillfully with dark roasted coffee notes. You may notice the amazing smoothness of this beer, considering it has such a high ABV – something that is very impressive. As you slow yourself down, look for a slight chili/pepper heat that contrasts the bittersweet bite of chocolate and coffee. You’ll also find a undertone of vanilla and other spices that provide another depth in this orchestra of flavors. This beer is a wonderful execution of balance, and the insane demand is a result. Do yourself a favor and get it while you can, brag about it to your beer geek friends, and watch them turn green with envy.
Ask your local retailer about Bomb! – odds are, if they are a great one, they’ve had it and it’s already sold out. Give them a good slap to the face followed with a “How dare you!” just to let them know you are serious…. and make sure they order more.
We gave this beer 5 Diamonds: