Picking The Best Beers For Whiskey Fans


The line between the world of whiskey and planet beer has become increasingly blurred over the past half-decade. Distillers are beginning to experiment with maturing spirits in IPA casks (Jameson, Glenfiddich, Chichibu), using leftover beer ingredients in their whiskies (Rogue Spirits), and even making hopped whiskies (Corsair). On the flip side of the coin, one of the biggest trends in the brewing world is bourbon-barrel aging. Craft beer fans go crazy for these limited edition brews — even camping overnight to get their hands on the newest offerings from Founders, Goose Island, and Russian River.

Due to the small quantity of beers that get barrelled, the bottles aren’t easy to come by. But if you’re an intrepid drinker, these eight are worth searching for.

Bourbon County Reserve Brand Stout

Few beer brands have more of a loyal following than Goose Island’s Bourbon County line of beers. People literally stood in line for hours when they were released on Black Friday.

This year, the brewery released six beers including the Reserve Brand Stout. This special offering is the original Bourbon County Stout that is allowed to sit in 11-year-old Knob Creek bourbon barrels to add oaky, caramel, and vanilla flavors.

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout

Just released last week, this truly unique beer has a little something for everyone, with chocolate and coffee making an appearance before being aged in maple syrup-bourbon barrels.

This 11.7% ABV stout is the third level of the Founders Breakfast Stout series (the second level is Kentucky Breakfast Stout).

Ballast Point High West Barrel Aged Victory at Sea

The recent acquisition of High West by Constellation Brands (owners of Ballast Point) made this dream come true combination a reality. This 12% ABV imperial porter is made with coffee beans, vanilla, and peanut butter. It’s then aged in casks that were originally full of High West bourbon and rye. What comes out is a dark, oak-fueled, bourbon blast of a beer.

Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout

California’s Lagunitas collaborated with renowned Kentucky distillery Willett to create this special brew. They were able to ship some of Willet’s rye barrels to their facility in Petaluma and used them to aged their Imperial Stout. The result is a 12.6% ABV stout with multiple complimentary flavors including: coffee, caramel, bourbon, and chocolate.

10 Barrel Estonya Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Porter

Oregon is a beer-lover’s wonderland and 10 Barrel Brewing is one of the best (so good that Anheuser-Busch purchased them a few years ago). But being owned by one of the beer giants hasn’t stopped the 10 Barrel crew from putting out great brews. That includes this 11.9% ABV Imperial Porter made in the Baltic Porter style. After being aged in bourbon barrels from West Virginia, the beer picks up flavors of chocolate nibs, caramel, vanilla, and charred oak.

Evil Twin Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Biscotti Break

This 11.5% ABV Imperial Stout is the bourbon barreled version of Evil Twin’s popular Imperial Biscotti Break. Already a sweet, almost dessert-like beer, the bourbon barrel aging only adds more sweet caramel, vanilla, and crème brulee flavors on top of a subtle hint of whiskey.

Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout

We already mentioned KBS’ cousin CBS, but that doesn’t even come close to pushing this beer off our list. This 11.8% ABV Imperial Stout is pretty much the same thing as the Canadian Breakfast Stout, but without the addition of maple syrup sweetness. Instead, you get a bourbon-barrel aged beer bursting with chocolate, caramel, and coffee flavors.

Firestone Walker Parabola

Released in March, Parabola is a 14.5% Russian Imperial Oatmeal stout. It gets its strong, whiskey flavor from being aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for a whole year. Not just rested like some brews, but literally aged for a year similarly to the whiskey itself. This gives the finished beer a rich malty, vanilla, oaky, bourbon-like flavor that delights whiskey and beer fans alike.