Bank Brewing Company - Bankruptcy
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Small Nonic, Tulip, or Snifter
As one of our two featured Rare Beer Club selections this month, we’re pleased to be able to include an exclusive release from Bank Brewing Co. in Hendricks, Minnesota. Bankruptcy is the brewery’s hefty imperial stout aged inside Wyoming Whiskey barrels, and it’s one of the best barrel-aged beers we’ve found in recent months. Aside from through the club, the only other spot that this will be available is at the brewery’s tasting room in Hendricks.
At first pour, it’s pretty obvious that this is a big beer. Bankruptcy pours a dark chocolate brown with just a bit of light getting through at the edges, capped by a modest tan head. At 12+% ABV, there’s just a modest layer of foam to this one, with a bit of lacing left around the edges. The aromatics show pretty clearly from first pour: rich chocolate at the base, with dried dark fruits (raisins, dates), roasted coffee, some warming hints of alcohol. You can get a lot of the richness of that base beer immediately, from chocolates to coffee to roast, and a nice bit of char coming from the barrel presence. Ripe fruit and vinous qualities throughout.
This is just one of the most impactful imperial stouts we’ve had in a while, with a delicious base beer and loads of character from its time in a Wyoming Whiskey barrel. There’s a lean, fruity core emphasis here, surrounded by a ton of milk and dark chocolates and roast. Nice barrel presence, with a firm impact of oak and char, giving further roundness and depth to an already expressive stout. We’d be really curious to check out this base beer sans barrel someday, as there’s a ton of dark specialty malts playing out here. Lots of vinous character and ripe fruits. Barrel tannins and oak providing structure. Dense, delicious imperial stout.
The caramelization levels in this seem pretty modest and secondary right now, and this beer feels well suited for a bit of additional cellar time if desired. Crack a bottle every six months or so to keep an eye on things. For food pairings: look to fare that’s going to be able to stand up to the impact of chocolate and roast, like peppery steak or a flourless chocolate cake.
Bank Brewing Co. came to life in the small town of Hendricks, Minnesota in late 2008, over beers in a newly finished hunting lodge. The Bank Hunting Lodge had been built into what was once the Original State Bank of Hendricks, first built in 1900, which Jason Markkula had bought and fixed up beginning in early 2007. The renovations were finished in September of 2008 and, while sitting at the newly completed bar, Jason’s friend dared to him to start a beer company to help further this same spirit of conservation and heritage. It went from there.
Markkula’s a seasoned homebrewer and developed the brewery’s original recipes, which were initially contract-brewed at places like Cold Spring Brewing and Brau Brothers Brewing. The original releases were launched as the Beer for Wildlife series, with a portion of the proceeds going to support local conversation efforts. 2014 was a milestone year, with the construction of an onsite brewery nearby (in a renovated historic creamery) and the hiring of head brewer Richard Drawdy, who helped expand the brewery’s beer lineup into a wide range of styles.
The folks up at Bank Brewing Co. have got some great stuff going on, and we’ve been really enjoying the beers we’ve tried so far. As one of our two featured beers this month, we’ve got Bank Brewing’s Bankruptcy: a massive imperial stout that’s been aged in Wyoming Whiskey barrels. Jason was returning to Minnesota from a trip to Montana, when he happened to see a distillery tour being advertised at Wyoming Whiskey in Kirby, Wyoming. He made a quick detour, bought a bottle of whiskey, signed up for 20 spent barrels to use at the brewery, then headed home. A year and a half later, he found himself on an impromptu road trip out to the distillery again, 14 hours each way, to pick up freshly emptied whiskey barrels he’d assumed were never going to materialize… In the years since, those impromptu barrels have formed the basis of the brewery’s barrel-aging program, which is used specifically for the creation of their Recession series of beers (including Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Default, and Overdraft).
We love how this barrel-aged imperial stout from Bank Brewing turned out, and we think it’s an ideal first beer for getting acquainted with what this brewery can do. There’s a rich, deeply layered imperial stout at the core here, and it’s a perfect base beer for the additional qualities imparted by those Wyoming Whiskey barrels. For more on Bank Brewing Co., the whiskey-barrel backstory, and the brewery’s line of Hop Lab beers, head over to bankbrewing.com.
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