Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company was founded by Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, an animal nutrition company, in 1999. The company makes a variety of beers, one of which we reviewed here, as well as bourbon. Naturally, they use bourbon barrels in their beer creations. Up for review today is their Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale. The company states that age their take on a cream ale, which is brewed with hints of flaked corn and bourbon vanilla beans, and age it in decanted bourbon barrels for at least two months.
The beer pours a light amber with a thick, foamy, white head that stood about one-and-a-half fingers tall at its height. Some carbonation can be seen reinforcing the head. The aroma hints of sweet vanilla but is not overpowering. It does perk up the taste buds but isn’t overly sweet. There is some oak present as well but it is very subdued and you almost have to bury your nose in the glass to get the oak aroma.
The first sip follows the nose. The notes of vanilla are followed by malt which plays heavier than expected. There are notes of oak and the earthy-sweet flavor of corn. The beer is medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth in the mouth and finishes on the dry side. With vanilla in the title of the beer you almost brace yourself for an overly sweet beer but this isn’t the case at all. The notes of vanilla are just right, enough to perk the taste buds, but not enough to overwhelm the other flavors presented.
Overall, this is a pretty good brew. It might not be a session beer, though at 5.5% you could get away with making it one. The flavor is a nice change of pace and a little sophisticated but not enough to come off as snobbish. This is a nice change of pace that can be for bourbon lovers looking for a beer or for beer lovers looking for something slightly more complex on the palate.