Alltech Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
English Strong Ale, 8.2%
Though craft breweries seem to be popping up all over the Bluegrass State these days, none of these new kids could ever come close to brewing something so quintessentially Kentucky as the original Kentucky Bourbon Ale -- bold, big, and nearly as boozy as the Bourbon Trail itself. And considering it comes from Lexington’s oldest brewery, it’s doubtful anybody would disagree. Aged for up to six weeks in locally sourced (obviously) bourbon barrels, this robust, slow-sipping English Strong Ale has all the vanilla, oak, and sweet molasses of a fine whiskey minus the signature bite.
Abita Pecan Harvest Ale
American Brown Ale, 5.2%
OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking -- how in Emeril’s name is it not Dixie beer? Well, turns out Louisiana’s most iconic frontrunner moved its operations up to Wisconsin after Katrina’s devastating blow. And if you’re bummed, you should probably just grab an Abita Pecan Harvest and shut your dern trap. The Abita Springs-based brewery has been brewing up the bayou’s best since 1986, and though it might not have Turbodog’s widespread popularity, the Pecan Harvest is definitely the most Louisianan of the brewery’s sizable fleet. While the majority of nut-flavored beers are dosed with extracts or synthetics, this gumbo-friendly American Brown gets its delicious burnt caramel aroma and layered complexity from real, locally grown roasted pecans. And those crunchy bits do more than just create flavor, they also emit oils that make the beer lighter and silkier on the palate. So, apologies Dixie fans, these lil’ whippersnappers simply have you beat.