Thursday, November 14, 2013
Prairie Artisan Ales - Prairie Bomb!
More often than not, it really helps to have friends that are into beer. If they live near you, you always have someone to taste beer with. And if they live far away, you always have someone to trade with. Sounds pretty win-win to me.
My friend, Eddie, moved to Northern California a few months ago, right after we shared our first great beer experience together (happening upon a Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise in a bar, followed by drinking said Lou Pepe Framboise). I was bummed to lose a great local friend who happened to be really into beer, but, as they say, there's a silver lining to every cloud. We stayed in touch, mainly with me being really jealous of all the ridiculous beer he was getting access to up there. Then it was decided that when he came down to visit this past weekend, we should do some kind of trade. Somehow, the words "Prairie" and "Bomb" came up together in the discussion and I almost had a heart attack.
Prairie Bomb! is a beer made by Oklahoma's Prairie Artisan Ales that has been gaining a massive following since its inception. It's a 14% stout brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, coffee and chili peppers and it's been shooting up the Top 250 List for a while now. I figured I had a shot of getting it in San Diego since Prairie beers show up here from time to time. But after looking for months, I hadn't even come close. It quickly became one of my white whale beers (the others being Zombie Dust, Bourbon County Coffee, Duck Duck Gooze and Fou Foune) and I made it a point to ask every bottleshop I went into about it before moving on to see what else they had. So when Eddie casually mentioned that he had purchased not 1 but 6 (!!!!!) of them and that I was more than welcome to one, I nearly crapped my pants. So here's to you, Eddie. May I one day be able to make you half as happy as you've made me with this beer. At #97 (at last) Prairie Bomb!
Prairie Bomb! pours a slightly thin (for the ABV) looking black color with a huge (again, for the ABV) two-finger mocha colored head. I wasn't expecting much from the appearance at all, but this beer is a looker, with huge amounts of dark lace coating the glass with each sip. The smell is near perfection, with a rich blend of vanilla, coffee and chili evident even from a foot away. Venture closer and you're met with a rich, almost custard-like vanilla smell that's more intense than any vanilla I've come across in a beer (short of maybe Southern Tier's Creme Brulee). The coffee in here isn't dark and overwhelming, but it smells smooth and freshly ground and melds with the vanilla beautifully. Joining the two are some great earthy and smoky notes of ancho chili.
Each sip of this beer brings wave after wave of mouth coating vanilla and cocoa notes. There's some powdery cocoa in here, along with some rich dark chocolate, marshmallow and fudge. The finish brings some light and earthy chili pepper notes with just a slight hint of heat. The beer feels a bit thin, more like a 5% stout than a 14% one, but flavors coat your mouth so much that it never comes close to tasting watery. If you can find this beer, you have to get it. It more than lives up to every bit of hype. And if you can't find it, it always helps to have a friend like Eddie.
Final Grade: A+
Top 250 Beers Tasted: 132