The fall season transition is always an exciting time at Crux. After the rush of fresh hop season is over and the weather starts to cool, it’s time for my favorite beer – Tough Love 2016! It’s a labor of love as we deal with this complex Imperial Stout all year long. It starts an entire year earlier (October 2015) with the arrival of 100 fresh bourbon barrels direct from the heart of bourbon country in Kentucky.
The barrels are so fresh they are often “wet” meaning they still have bourbon in the bottom of the barrel. We fill each barrel with fresh Tough Love and let it mature for 1 year in a cooled room. This year’s blend was pulled out of barrels in mid-October and pumped into a bright tank where it cools down, becomes carbonated & sits on fresh cut Madagascar vanilla beans & cherry bark for 2 weeks. This year’s version is incredibly complex – dark as night with a beautiful, mocha-colored creamy head. You’ll get a lot of barrel character this year with a smoky oak & pronounced bourbon heat. The vanilla & cherry bark blend perfectly with the dark chocolate & licorice base.
This is a heavy beer that manages to maintain its smoothness and will keep you coming back for more. For me, this is the perfect beer to have in front of the fire place (or out by our fire pits!) on a chilly night. Cheers to Tough Love season 2016! Look for it at our Tasting Room & in stores the week of Thanksgiving! Cheers
– Katie Liebl
Brewer, Barrel Program Manager