Brewery – Braxton
Beer – 66 Pearl
Style – Barrel Aged Belgian Golden Ale
ABV – 15.7%

In 1883, Barney Kroger invested his life savings of $372 to open a grocery story at 66 Pearl Street in downtown Cincinnati. The son of a merchant, he ran his business with a simple motto: “Be particular. Never sell anything you would not want yourself.” In 2010, Evan Rouse started brewing on Braxton Drive in Union, Kentucky. It’s where he dreamed of one day being on the shelf of his local Kroger. Now, the two companies are proud to present this Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Style Golden Ale. 66 Pearl takes on the characteristics of the barrel it was aged in. Smooth hints of oak from the barrel and spice from the Belgian yeast combine to create a beer as unique as this collaboration.  Celebrate where you came from, celebrate where you’re going. And always…Lift one to life.

I love Braxton’s commercial descriptions of their beers.  It’s not just a simple blurb about what the beer tastes like – they dig into a real story.  The name of this beer is an homage to the start of Kroger by Barney Kroger back in 1883, and the beer itself is a bit of an homage to buying craft beer at Kroger when Evan Rouse was just a young homebrewer, with dreams of having his own beer on the shelf one day.

This beer was distributed to Greater Cincinnati Kroger stores in late 2017 and was sold in 4 packs exclusively (aside from some being on tap in the taproom for their big ‘Dark Charge Day).  If you missed out on snagging some of this you are definitely out of luck. Not only was this only available for a limited time, but it was also a bit of an anomaly in the Braxton lineup, and still to this day was the only 12oz bottle that the brewery released.

I’m blown away not only by how great this beer is (and how dangerously easy it drinks for almost 16% ABV, but that Kroger managed to get this as a collaboration beer.  It’s really good… and would have been at home alongside any of their big taproom bottle releases.

My Thoughts on Braxton 66 Pearl

In the glass 66 Pearl is a light copper color with a nice frothy white head on top.

Aromas are packed full of bourbon-y sweetness, and a touch of earthiness.

The flavor is big.  Smooth vanilla and wood with a nice kick of smooth booze.  The Belgian character seems right at home next to the wood notes.  This is a beer that evolves all throughout the glass as you sip away at it… don’t rush this experience.

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