Karbach Brewing Company is a somewhat under-the-radar brewery hailing from Houston, Texas that has been around since 2011. As far as Texas breweries go, it comes in at the fifth largest in production1 which is composed of some year-round staples, seasonal releases and the single release “F.U.N.” (Freaking Unbelievable Nectar) Series.
The F.U.N. series has seen eleven releases through the fall of 2014. You will notice a few duplicates, and while the description is the same, the beer is slightly different as unique bourbon barrels are used in the individual releases.
- 001 – Bodacious – Double IPA aged in Merlot barrels
- 002 – Fra Gee Lay – Holiday spiced ale aged in bourbon barrels
- 003 – Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter – Imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels
- 004 – Roll in the Hay – Belgian style saison aged in white wine barrels
- 005 – Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter – Imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels
- 006 – Cherries of Fire – Imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels with cherries added
- 007 – Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter – Imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels
- 008 – Fra Gee Lay – Holiday spiced ale aged in bourbon barrels
- 009 – Clown Lounge – Double IPA aged in bourbon barrels
- 010 – Bodacious – Double IPA aged in red wine barrels
- 011 – Portee D’or – Belgian style triple aged in bourbon barrels
Obviously, the purpose of this review is to discuss the sixth release, Cherries of Fire.
From the description on the bottle I am very much looking forward to drinking this beer and have already formulated in my mind an idea for how it will taste. Here’s to hoping that reality lives up to my imagination.
Cherries of Fire pours a dark black into a tulip glass with the faintest hint of red visible when held to the light. There is a solid half inch of brown sugar head that fades pretty quickly to leave a slight ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and a thin film of foam on the surface. A little bit of lacing appears if I give the beer a swirl, but it immediately recedes back into the glass.
The first smell greets me with a distinguishable sour cherry note, which is a very pleasant and welcome aroma that has me excited for what’s to come. I also pick up a little bit of unexpected funkiness with a tiny amount of sweetness in the background. Other than that, it’s a little one dimensional and not incredibly complex, but it definitely is not bad.
The first sip follows the nose with sour cherries leading the way. Cherries of Fire is very substantial in the mouth, with the viscosity of the base beer and the carbonation combining really well to create a very pleasant mouthfeel. It is kind of a dichotomy with the tartness at the forefront, but I like it. There is a touch of bitterness mid-palate, but it fades into a nice cherry sweetness on the finish. I don’t pick up much barrel, if any, which is a little disappointing but will hopefully come forward more as the beer warms up.2