Great back story to the name of this beer, which connoisseurs of whiskey may know, but I had never heard. When distillers of whiskey age their whiskey for many years, some of the whiskey evaporates. They refer to this evaporation as "the angel's share".
It's an apt name for this beer as the brewers at Lost Abbey age the beer for a year in a bourbon barrel, which is evident in the taste.
I decided to try this beer because I've been writing a lot about IPAs. I can't get over my love of them, but think it's only fair to write about all the wonderful varieties of beer available.
The Angel's Share is an American strong ale, which is a term that refers to a strong beer (greater than 7% ABV) that doesn't fit in to another existing category. Beers termed strong ale typically share certain characteristics - they're usually dark brown to black in appearance and have a strong hop flavor and bitterness that are balanced by sweet or caramel malt flavors.
The Angel's Share certainly lives up to this in terms of color. The pour is deep, dark brown. It looks almost syrupy. There's no carbonation in the beer, which probably adds to this appearance.
You can absolutely smell the bourbon, as well as some oak and a little bit of vanilla. No hops here!
The taste, to me, is overwhelmingly of the bourbon. Maybe because I'm not a huge bourbon fan (which is an understatement), I felt like it was all I could taste. I even got that burning sensation at the back of my throat like I get when drinking a bourbon, which admittedly I don't do very often. I was told by my fellow bar patrons that the warmer the beer got, the better it would taste as other flavors came through. But I have to admit, that for me, that just didn't happen. Some other flavors were evident - molasses, caramel, dark fruits. Even with all that, I couldn't shake the bourbon taste.
The Angel's Share is currently available on draft at both Tria locations. Even though I can't write that I loved it, I'm glad I tried it. After all, that's what this blog is all about - expanding my horizons. Obviously I can't love every beer I try. There were a lot of other people at the bar who were drinking it, and most seemed to really enjoy it - some had even had it before and were commenting on how it good it was. And while I didn't see anyone order a second, I'm going to attribute that to the hefty 12% ABV.