Beer of the Weekend #730: Junior

A beer is in order after watching the Hawkeye men’s heartbreaking lost to Iowa State tonight. I’m happy the Hawks almost pulled it off, but it’s the “almost” that hurts.

The beer tonight is Junior, brewed by the Kalona Brewing Company of Kalona, Iowa.

Junior pours an opaque black color into a snifter. Two fingers of bubbly, fluffy, deep tan-colored head settles slowly, leaving lacing stuck to the glass. The aroma is pretty mellow, as the brewery’s website promises. Vanilla is most prominent, and the oak and whiskey characters are also noticeable. Coffee and chocolate come into play as well. It smells more like liquor than stout. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Baileys Irish Cream. The flavor mostly mirrors the smell, though the flavors pass the palate one-by-one as each sip makes its way down. Vanilla is first, then it is followed by the barrel oak, which leads into a whiskey-like character. Coffee and chocolate come a little later, almost after the sip, and leave the taste buds reminded of Baileys Irish Cream (and all those White Russians I drank in college). Left behind in the aftertaste are flavors of oak, vanilla, and coffee.

Fun facts about Junior:

• Style: Barrel-aged stout.

• Price: $2.29 per 12-ounce can at the “Drug Town” on First Avenue in Iowa City.

• Alcohol content: 5.6 percent ABV.

• The barrels used in the aging process are provided by the Mississippi River Distilling Company of Le Claire, Iowa. (The brewery’s website calls it “LeClaire.”) I have never been to Le Claire but I hear it is a pretty neat and boozy place. With a population shy of 4,000, it has a winery, a distillery, and a brewery — all within a block of each other.

• According to the brewery’s website, “This beer has a lower ABV then You Be You [Kalona’s imperial stout], so we named it Junior.” Fittingly, the You Be You label features an old man and Junior’s label features the same old man and, I assume, his son. Nice!

• Speaking of Junior, I love “Mama Used to Say” by Junior. The video may be antiquated and awkward, but the song is definitely a neglected gem from the eighties. Go Hawks!

The Quiet Man’s grade: A.

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