BREWVIEW ON BLACK DIAMOND BREWING COMPANY BOURBON BARREL AGED GRAND CRU

While searching for a beer to BrewView, we came across this gem a while back placing it in our “To Review” list until this point in time. We almost didn’t have the chance to rate Black Diamond Brewing Company’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Grand Cru this week… Where we saw it on the shelves last- (Liquor Barn in Redding), they were almost out of it. We found a few bottles in stock remaining this time, so we grabbed one… We offer our BrewView below.

ABOUT BLACK DIAMOND BREWING COMPANY

Ales of distinction – that’s what we’re all about! Black Diamond Brewing Company is an artisan’s brewery located 30 miles northeast of San Francisco in Concord, CA, near the confluence of the mighty Sacramento Delta rivers and the majestic Mt. Diablo. Our brewery name comes from the local coal mines where, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, nearly 4 million tons of these “black diamonds” were removed from the earth. The mining town residents came from all over the world, and their lives were characterized by hard work and long hours. Occasional celebrations were important to help sustain the dedicated miners, and beer became a favorite beverage. 

This spirit of hard work and celebration of life is at the core of our philosophy at Black Diamond Brewing. We opened our doors in 1994 as a brewpub in Walnut Creek, CA, where we produced our unique blend of ales and provided quality food and entertainment for 10 years. As the passion for producing great beer dominated our vision, we closed the brewpub and then immediately reopened as a full-fledged brewery in 2005.

Upon opening in Concord, we began selling draught beer, finding great acceptance from pubs and restaurants throughout the local market. As the success continued, we extended our distribution to other markets in Northern California. In 2007, thanks to the overwhelming success of our draught beer, we installed our bottling line and began bottling our FreeStyle Belgian Blonde and Steep Trail Amber Ales. The market responded very positively to our launch and, building on the success we established in the independent retail market, we gained acceptance in many chain stores as well. 

As we expand our territory and available styles in bottles and draught, we continue to hold to our roots — sourcing the best ingredients, working hard and never compromising. These are the tenets of our company and celebrating life is the just reward. 

We hope you too will join us in this celebration of life. If you’re out and about, you can find Black Diamond brews at Save-Mart, Beverages & More, Lucky Stores, select Longs’ Drugs and Costco. They are also served in finer restaurants and pubs throughout Northern California. If you’re anywhere near Concord, stop by our Tap Room for a taste. We always welcome new friends. (Source: BDBrewing.com)

BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION FROM BLACK DIAMOND BREWING COMPANY

Style category: Belgian-Style Grand Cru

Taste: Each Autumn, we fancy a good Dubbel, a rich, malty pleasure that’s the perfect accompaniment to those longer fall and winter nights. Three years ago, we began to play around with -what by then had become our “Winter Ale” and see where it might take us. After much tinkering, including a number of crazed fruit experiments, wood barrel aging in various vessels, and finally finishing with mind-numbing blending trials, we offer our Grand Cru. 

The designation of “Grand Cru” originates from the Burgundy region of France. Brewers have taken the term and applied to it more elaborate, aged and reserved versions of their beers. Our Belgian-style Dubbel (available as our winter seasonal) has been taken to the next level by the careful blending and aging techniques. We believe we’ve created a classic to be enjoyed throughout the winter months. 

This will be a limited release in both Bourbon and Brandy versions. In these batches, we’ve added locally sourced Zante currants and Black Mission figs, aged 20% of the blend in used bourbon and brandy barrels for 12 months – in which time the warmth of the spirits, along with toasted oak and vanilla flavors are released from the wood. Whole vanilla beans compliment the wood and bring forth a velvety smoothness and richness. The fig flavor is forward on the nose along with the bubble-gum/banana esters. In both, the taste starts with the rich sweetness of fruit, carries through with a rich mellow center and finishes dry, yet these Brandy and Bourbon siblings take you there via their own routes.

OUR BREWVIEW OF BLACK DIAMOND BREWING COMPANY-
BOURBON BARREL AGED GRAND CRU

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
9% ABV. Poured into a tulip-shaped glass, and served at 48°F. Pours a deep brown color. If you hold it up to the light, it does have mahogany hues to it. The tan colored head pours an easy 2-finger height, and is tightly bubbled and dense. As the head collapses, the Brussels lacing it leaves behind is even. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). The meniscus is  slow rising.

AROMA / BOUQUET:
There is a heavy vanilla bouquet first, and then figs and dates. The bubblegum aromas are there but in the background. We believe this is because of the combination of vanilla and dark fruit esters intermingling. It almost has a “Dubble Bubble” bubblegum aroma…

TASTE:
The initial taste is tart, (more tart that we thought it was going to be). Heavy in the currants blending with dark fruit and vanilla sweetness. This is a very unique tasting Grand Cru; most beers we have tried in this style tend to be “hot” in the alcohol and spicing. The bourbon barrel flavors are there, but in the background. There is a nice balance between tartness and sweetness.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
We love the rich effervescence and carbonation level in this beer. If you hold up your glass to your ear, you can definitely hear the “fizz” from the carbonation level.  This hits the front of the tongue and the sides of the mouth with its prickly carbonation. It finishes tart and dry.

FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Black Diamond Brewing Company suggests pairing the Grand Cru with Lamb, wild game, charcuterie, braised short ribs, cherry reductions. Try with braised pork & red cabbage, Moussaka, mushroom dishes (think risotto or polenta) grilled salmon, tuna or sardines, or try a secret weapon side dish: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Jam in Maple Syrup/Grand Cru reduction.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
This beer was a very nice surprise… even though the brewery states that it is a winter beer, the tartness and effervescence makes it suitable for enjoying it in the warmer months too. We found this at the Liquor Barn here in Redding, California for only $6.99 for a 22 oz. bottle. Quite a unique experience for a Grand Cru style beer.

BLACK DIAMOND BREWING COMPANY:
http://www.bdbrewing.com
2470 Bates Avenue
Concord, CA 94520
Ph: (925) 356-0120
Fax: (925) 356-0121

Black Diamond Distribution Network link

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