Beer of the Week: Mission Dark Seas Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout

Revived San Diego brand releases first oak-aged bottled brew

Mission Brewery

1441 L Street, East Village

Since reviving a historic brand six years ago, the folks behind the current iteration of Mission Brewery (1441 L Street, East Village) have been slow to roll out new beers. This isn’t a knock on them, but their line-up falls into territory most beer geeks would label “standard.” But recently, this methodically advancing brewing company took a big step forward, releasing its first barrel-aged beer, a version of its Dark Seas Russian imperial stout that spent 20 months in Four Roses Bourbon whiskey barrels before being siphoned into 22-ounce bottles stylishly sealed with maroon wax.

Dark Seas is my favorite of Mission’s offerings, and this softer-yet-harder edition represents a wise move that diversifies the brewery’s portfolio while playing off its strengths. The beer is 11% ABV, but not so alcoholic that notes of malt-borne chocolate and wood-borne vanilla don’t come through. As expected, trademark whiskey overtones dominate, but cellaring the beer down for a year or two will likely yield a more leveled-out symphony of harmonious flavors. Bottles of this limited edition beer are currently available at Mission’s tasting room, located across the street from PETCO Park’s designated tailgate lot. Several cases have also been distributed to craft beer-focused bottle shops.

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