Lift Bridge Brewing in Stillwater, Minnesota, launched its oak-barrel-aged Silhouette Russian Imperial Stout at its tap room on Saturday, January 24th from 12 to 10 pm. The Silhouette release was one among many release parties that Lift Bridge hosts at 1900 Tower Drive tap room and brewery location. Other release parties include Commander barleywine, Irish coffee stout, and Biscotti Belgian dark ale.
Warm temps in the low 40s and sunny skies greeted the beer fans who turned out to the event, which was expected to draw several thousand over the course of the day. Lift Bridge VP of Finance Jim Pierson said, “We have several launch parties during the year. We were lucky with today’s weather. When we have had these [winter] parties in the past, we are usually dealing with an ice storm.”
Lift Bridge offered the Silhouette stout in both barrel-aged and non-barreled renditions on tap for $5 a pour. In addition, its full slate of beers was also available on tap during the event, including Farm Girl Belgian Saison, Cross Cut pale ale, Chestnut Hill brown ale, and Hop Dish IPA.
The Silhouette Stout has gained a dedicated following, and when the 750 milliliter bottles were put up for sale online in December, it sold out quickly. These Lift Bridge fans, who pre-ordered the stout, picked them up at the tap room during the release party. And another 200 bottles of the stout were sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lift Bridge Brewmaster Matt Hall, said “We wanted to go beyond the standard-type stout and this was a unique and special project that is in its third year. It took [this year’s beer] a year before it was ready. I would check it every couple of months to see how it was coming along. I picked out the oak barrels that we used for aging the beer. The barrels added the complexity…the smoky, wood, and stone notes to the beer.” And by the reception of the beer, I think they were able to go beyond the standard-type stout. Beer Advocate has rated Silhouette barrel aged as world class with 100 point score at the time of this writing.
At the party, Lift Bridge offered the Silhouette Russian Imperial Stout aged in 12-year-old oak bourbon barrels and standard tank fermented versions. And both beers were distinctly different than the other. The barrel-aged imperial stout served up a strong yet not overpowering bourbon character. Deep, dark and rich, it delivered a complex smoky, earthy taste with chocolate, cherry and vanilla notes. The standard rendition or unbarreled Silhouette provided a hearty dark malt roast and chocolate character that was pleasing yet not as complex.