It had been taunting me every time I went to the cool kids beer cooler at the Hy-Vee Liquor Store on State Line, the official Bull E. Vard Schlafly Headquarters. A big bottle of Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout aged in oak barrels and a bargain at $8.99, ok not quite a bargain but.. well the price was a little much, it better be damn good. I finally pulled the trigger after an afternoon cleaning up all the old baby toys from the dance floor in the Bull E. Vard mansion's basement bar, The Lido Deck. We'd been stacking old bouncy chairs, exersaucers, stuffed animals and outgrown toys on what used to be my dart throwing and breakdancing area. It had gotten to the point that I had to step over a thing or two to get to the ol' kegerator. We turned what used to be an adults only zone which hosted my bachelor party 4 short years ago, into a kids playroom for two 3-year-olds; all in the course of one afternoon.
Stella was going to go out for the evening leaving me alone with the brood. Not that big of a deal, they would be in bed by 8. So before she left, I made a run over to the Hy-vee to get my bottle, as well as whatever else was available. I got a couple of sixers and my big bottle of imperial stout. I also got some sweet Chik-fil-a from the drive thru.
The Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout didn't even make its way into the refrigerator, I just placed it on the counter and got the kids their dinner ready. Dino nuggets anyone? An exciting evening of Candy Land and Hungry Hippos ensued. Finally 8 O'clock rolled around and the kids were all snug in their beds. Bull popped the top of the Schlafly and poured it into the new Smokestack series glass. Oh it smelled wonderful, a kind of bourbony vanilla cookie smell. The head was a real small but persistent tan.
I had this thing set out the perfect amount of time, it was a couple of degrees shy of room temperature, really a warm cellar temp. I popped in a DVD or burned through some DVR shows, nothing really popped, except my great oak aged beer. Beer geeks get ready to laugh. I've never had a beer aged in oak barrels and this was definitely a new experience. I have, however, had quite a few bourbons in my day and this was the closest thing to a bourbon that a beer could be. This, my dear readers, is a welcome development. Maybe the good folks at Pabst would be so kind as to oak age their fine Blue Ribbon product. The beer also had some chocolate (as with most stouts) and raisin flavors. It was truly exceptional.
I should note that the reserve imperial stout is loaded up with alcohol, weighing in at 10.5% alcohol. But, I always find with a stout, you end up drinking so slowly the alcohol doesn't really catch up to you that much, no buddy needed on this one (unless you enjoy the company of others). I even had another beer or two after I finished the stout. And then I found the greatest show ever, the aforementioned (at least in the previous post), "Harrahs Big Break". Maybe I was a little drunk because this happened to be the championship show and all of the participants were pretty poor. The show was just so funny. So I think I have the Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout to thank for my good fortune in finding "Harrahs Big Break".