Bocks (or their imperial variant) are a hard beer style to do correctly; a number of bocks end up being toasted sugar bombs without much depth. Cleveland, Ohio’s Portside Distillery has crafted something special in their Gambrinus Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Bock. There is a good amount of malt that is immediately present, a taste that is quickly muted with hints of vanilla and bourbon granted it during its time in the barrel.
The alcohol burn is a smart inclusion for the rapidly-cooling Cleveland autumn, but is not astringent or dominating in the slightest. Portside has crafted an eminently drinkable effort that is more than a little dangerous due to its easy-drinking quality. As the beer continues to reach room temperature, there are greater hints of brown sugar, molasses, and wheat that bubble to the surface. The mouthfeel of Gambrinus is luxurious, slightly on the thick side, and would be paired perfectly with salty fare (pretzels, chips, cheese).The eclectic flavor profile of the Gambrinus BBA is enough that fans of porters and even some imperial stouts will find something that they can easily appreciate.
The Portside Gambrinus Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Bock is currently available on tap at their Flats East Bank location. The staff there is fantastic, their menu deep with the wide variety of different styles of beer, infused rums, and side plates. There are new efforts being offered at Portside on a regular basis; call them up for a quick rundown of everything that is available. Keep an eye out for their upcoming game nights, tentatively slated for Wednesdays at the Distillery’s Front Ave location. Their Imperial stout Ghost Ship will be making its way back to availability in the mid-point of October.