|Image credit: Community Beer Company, Lone Star Beverages|
It all started back in July, when the Community Beer Company announced the pending release of a new, but as yet unnamed, Russian imperial stout. The brewery canvassed the public for help in naming the new brew, revealing a few weeks later that it had narrowed the choices down to a winning entry submitted by Ben Bascombe. As for the name of the new beer, it would simply be called Legion.
What they didn't tell us right away, was that in the time leading up to the beer's debut at the end of September, they had put a portion of the batch into spent bourbon casks in anticipation of a barrel-aged release to come later in the year. As you've probably already heard, that time is now.
Following two nights of sneak preview tastings at the Community taproom, bottles of Barrel-Aged Legion are set to go on sale next week. Lone Star Beverages in Carrollton has been chosen as the official launch point for the release, and co-owner Rick Ali tells me they'll be getting a significant allocation in the neighborhood of 40 cases.
Noting the established success the original Legion offering, Ali says he's "excited to be a part of this release" and for subsequent products Community will be putting out with their new Barrel-Aged Series. He also recognizes the synergy of partnering with the brewery for this event in saying, "Lone Star has long been a part of the growth of the craft beer scene here in North Texas, and being chosen as the first to offer BA Legion to the public only strengthens the drink local and shop local movement!"
Regarding the beer, which I'm told was aged in barrels from Heaven Hill, I can tell you that a first impression may have you nicknaming it "Woody." While Barrel-Aged Legion is bourbon-forward on the nose with additional elements lingering in the background, the wood and vanilla characteristics are much more predominant when it comes to the taste. The heavy influence of the wood also gives the beer a dry and tannic finish, something which lingers along with hints of underlying roast well into the aftertaste.
So, should you drink it now or drink it later? In answering that eternal question, let me just say that the barrel character is strong in this one. My personal preference would be to give it additional time in the cellar, but of course that choice is up to you.
Lone Star will sell four-packs of twelve-ounce bottles on Monday, December 8. Twenty cases will be released at 9:30 a.m., with an additional twenty going on sale at 4 p.m. (quantities will be limited to two four-packs per person). Visitors to the shop can also expect free tastings of Legion (note samples of Barrel-Aged Legion will not be available), as well as "deep discounts" on that beer and what is arguably Community's flagship, Mosaic IPA.