Improving on Perfection
A Review of Seeing Double IPA (Bourbon Barrel Aged) by Foothills Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/23/2012 by Chops
One of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a beer fan is to get your hands on a rare brewpub exclusive. Now, I don't mean finding a short run seasonal brew or scoring some special growler at the beer store. I mean those unadvertised specialty beers that you can only get by walking through the front doors of the brewpub at the right time on the right day. Those are the most rewarding moments. For example, one of my favorite scores was getting a freshly dry-hopped 90 Minute IPA (like 5 minutes ago fresh) at Dogfish Head's Rehoboth Beach brewpub in Delaware. You know, those moments. I recently experienced another on a trip to the Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem, NC. It was there where I stumbled upon a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of the Seeing Double IPA. On tap. Sweet, sweet mercy.

As a little back story, the Foothills Brewery is widely regarded as one of North Carolina's champion breweries. NC has become a major craft beer destination in the last decade, and Foothills is a big reason why. Their arsenal of brews are second to none in the region and their fan base is highly devoted. Their Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout is the most coveted seasonal brew in the region. Their Seeing Double IPA is a phenomenal brew with a rabid following (including yours truly). It is hands down one of the best beers the region has to offer. So now I find myself sitting at the Foothills brewpub bar staring at a Seeing Double IPA aged in bourbon barrels. I honestly couldn't contain my excitement (apologies to those sitting beside me).

In the glass, this beer has a rich and hazy burnt orange coloration. It's quite a gorgeous beer to be honest. I noticed that it was a few shades darker than the standard Seeing Double IPA, which is a common result of barrel aging. It comes with a frothy white head that dissipates quickly. This is also a common aspect of barrel aging since beers can lose a bit of their carbonation in the process. The aroma is where things start to get really interesting. This beer smells like, and stay with me here, a bunch of orange Jolly Ranchers dissolved in bourbon. Wow. Just, wow. The aggressive hops and tart citrus are beautifully softened by the sweet bourbon profile, creating this fantastically smooth aroma. I'm amazed I waited as long as I did for that first sip.

Amazingly enough, the aroma translated very well into the flavor. That signature earthy hop aggression is significantly smoothed by the bourbon sweetness. Consequently, this beer is easy drinking for the strength. I could have easily plowed through many in a single session. There is a sweet malty base that provides a solid flavor foundation. Churning around the mix are candied caramel notes that act almost like bouncers to keep the hops and alcohol burn in line. I really am amazed at how accessible this beer is. It's very strong and complex, but oddly welcoming. The beer finishes clean and smooth, leaving a lingering aftertaste of sweet bourbon and earthy bitterness.

Overall, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Seeing Double IPA is a deliciously exquisite beer. Foothills hit a home run with this brew and I sincerely hope that I am lucky enough to sample it again. I can recommend this amazing brew to any and all beer fans, which is strange considering that I would usually warn novices against the base beer. But, that is not to say that beginners should throw caution to the wind. The barrel aged version packs just as much punch as the standard version, it just attacks you from a different angle. But for those of you ready and willing to take the plunge, I can guarantee that you will be rewarded with the very best North Carolina has to offer.

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Seeing Double IPA (Bourbon Barrel Aged) by Foothills Brewing Co.
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