The internet is fun, and there are fun things on it. Some of those things happen to be groups of people that love the same thing you do, like whiskey and craft beer. It was in one of those groups where we scored some tickets to the Prairie Artisan Ales Gnome Dome, a small collection of pop-up shops that are sitting next to Bleu Garten at 10th and Hudson that, for an evening, were taken over by Prairie.
Prairie sponsored one of the super cool domes, which on weekends during the holiday season they house random shops where you can buy things like Oklahoma-shaped necklaces, bags made of “vegan leather” (whatever the shit that is), and a LARGE assortment of things with bison silhouettes on them. The sponsorship let Prairie take over all the domes, which are empty during the week, for an evening and they decided to host a fun holiday party and give everyone invited a sneak peek of a couple of yet-to-be-released beers.
Needless to say we had a blast at the party, and got to hang out with some really great people (including owners of some of our favorite bars and breweries that inspired us to do this whole Barrels and Mash thing in the first place) and drink some delicious things. The two unreleased brews were The Legend Returns, a tripel aged in Balcones barrels, and Coffee Okie, a barrel-aged brown ale with coffee (you can find Justin’s review of non-coffee Okie here). We’ll get to that tripel when it hits the shelves, but for now let’s check out Jusin’s thoughts on that Coffee Okie which is due to hit stores in the next week or so. – Kris
PRAIRIE ARTISAN ALES Coffee Okie – Justin
Company: Prairie Artisan Ales
Location: Tulsa, OK. Brewed in Krebs, OK
Style/Description: Imperial Brown Ale Aged In Whiskey Barrels With Coffee Beans
Price: $8 (or so), 12oz bottle
Appearance: Pours a deep ruby copper, cloudier than regular Okie. Very little head and some sticky lace.
Nose: Sweet creamy caramel aroma with big time roasted espresso. Bitter chocolate and coffee dominate, with plenty of whiskey booze aroma drifting up.
Taste: Coffee and roasted espresso forward, with buttery caramel and sugary treacle. Dark chocolate and biscuit come in with some cinnamon, like a homemade cookie I’ve never had the opportunity to try. Maple and molasses. The barrel character is present but understated with Bourbon oak and vanilla, and perhaps adding some whiskey on the back end. Alcohol warms as it goes down, but 6 months in barrel prior to bottling may have helped mellow it a bit more than regular Okie. Mouthfeel is not particularly thick, surprising for the size. I’m enjoying this beer a lot more with the coffee added, it takes off some of the barleywine aggression of the original version.
Finish: Long sticky finish, with plenty of booze and coffee, a little heavy and boozy perhaps.
Overall: I’m always excited to try out a new big Prairie beer, and I had high hopes for this one. Coffee Okie was aged in Balcones barrels for six months and then aged on Nordaggios espresso roast coffee (the same coffee that is used in Bomb!) for a few weeks. This brew tastes like a thinner and less aggressive Bomb! Kris and I were able to attended the Gnome Dome party and try it a little early, but I’ll definitely be picking up a few bottles to drink immediately and a few to age and see what happens when the coffee drops out. Excellent beer, and just in time for the holidays.