Beer from Here: Olde Hickory Brewery – The Event Horizon
Olde Hickory Brewery is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Hickory, North Carolina. Beginning in 1994 with a 7 barrel converted dairy system, the brewery set and accomplished the goal of providing unique traditional ales and lagers. They quickly outgrew that system and today operate a 25 barrel Price Schonstrom brew house. In 1997, OHB began the renovation of an 1880 historic landmark building in downtown Hickory, which now houses their brewing facilities.
This week’s review focuses on The Event Horizon, an 8.5% ABV Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Winner of a World Beer Cup 2012 bronze award, this heavy-hitting libation is rated the number one beer brewed in North Carolina by Ratebeer.com and scored a 97 on Beer Advocate. How about those credentials?
As expected, the imperial stout poured a deep black from a 22 oz. bomber with a thin, quarter-inch head. The beer immediately exuded notes of bourbon and dark fruit. I could actually smell the bourbon as the beer was being poured into my tulip glass. I knew I was in for a treat. I’ve become a huge fan of barrel aged beers, particularly those partying in bourbon barrels for a few months.
While boasting a heavy body, notes of oak, chocolate, and bourbon graced my taste buds. A hot, warming sensation of alcohol was present mid-sip, like a touch of spice. The finish reminded me of a fine port. I also picked up a little vanilla and some slight sweetness from the honey. As I let time pass, the stout became thicker and the chocolate and sweetness became more pronounced. The dark fruit and barrel tried their best to leave a lasting impression as well. Small notes of coffee became apparent too. I was surprised with the minimal lace left behind on the glassware.
The Event Horizon is a very complex, yet drinkable imperial stout. While a tad boozy, it’s on the lower end of the ABV scale for a beer of this style. It imparts a nice touch of bourbon, which adds to the profile. I always yearn for a more honey in beers, but as a fermentable sugar it’s tough and usually drys a beer out. It does add a nice sweetness though. I am curious how this beer would age for the next year or two. It’s definitely worth trying one now and throwing a second into the cellar.
The Event Horizon and other Olde Hickory brews can be found in bars, restaurants, and specialty stores across North Carolina and Tennessee.
Brewery: Olde Hickory Brewery
City: Hickory, NC
Style: Imperial Stout
Availability: Limited, 22 oz. bombers