Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" Sierra Nevada Porter-Aged Brandy (750ml) (Previously $53)
We've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Copper & Kings's "Cr&ftwerk" project since we first tasted the brandies from barrel at the Louisville distillery last Fall. While craft whisky producers have spent years trying to best capture the flavor of distilled beer into an interesting and sippable spirit, we think C&K may have the better idea: aging brandy, rather than whisky, in the used barrels from some of America's most iconic breweries. The finished result actually captures more of the that beery essence than the actual distillates we've tasted since the idea first took hold. Bottled at 55.5%, the Sierra Nevada edition takes C&K brandy and finshes it in former Imperial Smoked Porter casks. Of all the four Cr&ftwerk editions, this is easily the most balanced of the bunch. It's equal parts beer and brandy, and the best parts of both beverages enhance one another beautifully. The mid-palate swirls with vanilla, smoke, and richness from the beer, but the citrus and spice from the porter reach a crescendo on the finish that's truly fantastic. Fans of craft beer may go gaga over the other three, but fans of single malt whisky will want this bottle first and foremost. It's like a smoky Speyside or lightly peated Highland malt. Well done.