We love how Connecticut is becoming a beerophiles dream state. Breweries are popping up all over and there are always new ones in the works. Since it opened, Two Roads in Stratford has been putting out some great brews and the brewery itself is definitely a sight to see. Our last brew-view focused on Ryan and the Beaster Bunny, a saison that is brewed at Two Roads for Eviltwin Brewing. Yeah, the brewery is that massive that they can brew for other companies. We’ve had all of their brews, but when a new one comes out, we feel it is our personal responsibility to consume and to consume well. And, a new brew did come along, so our search for Conntucky Lightnin’ took us straight to the brewery in Stratford after we had some killer balls from The Local Meatball and talked with Emily of Two Roads for a bit. But, sadly, that would not be the end of our journey…
Beer: Conntucky Lightnin’
Style: American Strong Ale aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with good ol’ fashioned corn grits (think of a play on moonshine). People classify a beer as American Strong Ale when the ABV’s pretty high (we’re talking about 7% and up) and, for the most part, when it’s darker in color. These kind of beers don’t easily fit into other categories, so they get classified as American Strong Ale. Some classic examples you might be familiar with are any of the Bastard Ales from Stone, Double Dead Guy Ale from Rogue, and Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada.
Color and appearance: Brown with hints of red, very similar to the color of bourbon. The head quickly fizzled out and left a thin layer of foam.
Smell: You definitely get whiffs of bourbon, oak, and even caramel. While you’d expect strong and overpowering scents, that doesn’t happen here. Everything is pretty subdued.
Taste: Like the smell, the taste was surprisingly not overpowering. First you get the flavors imparted from the bourbon barrels, then you get a gentle jab from the alcohol (8.5% worth). Hops then come in and balance out the beer a bit. While you’re definitely left with some hoppy notes at the finish, all the flavors are nicely put together. There’s a slight sweetness to this brew, too, coming from the corn grits.
Background: Two Roads has some great choices on tap and being sold far and wide including their Worker’s Comp Saison and the ever popular Road to Ruin Double IPA. Their latest brew isn’t as easy to find as their others, especially because it’s such a unique brew and people snatch it up very quickly. Why, we even planned a trip to Two Roads to get some bottles right from the source but they had just sold out a few minutes before we arrived. When you visit Two Roads, their tap room, take a tour, or check out their brand new beer garden, it’s hard to believe that they’ve only been open for a little over half a year.
Pairing: This is a heavier beer, so you don’t want to pair it with anything too light. Conntucky Lightnin’ would be divine with ribs, brisket, burgers, or even a nice meat-heavy pizza pie.
Thoughts: We’ve been dreaming about this beer for quite a while, so it was great to finally try it. In our minds, we think that it would have been bolder and have a stronger bourbon taste, but, do you know what? That kind of overpowering flavor gets old real fast. This is definitely a more drinkable beer than other similar styles. If you see this brew in the store, definitely snag it (maybe a few) and give it a try.
Found at: Dew Drop Inn in Derby, CT (on tap)