It has been a minute since we’ve done anything that flirts with pastry stout. Most of the time we prefer to let beer, wood, spirit, and age get the full spotlight in our barrel-aged stouts, but every once in a while we start toying with the idea of blending in some fun ingredients, and we can’t get it out of our head. The idea of featuring pandan leaf in a dark beer is something that our brewmaster has wanted to do for a long time, and, originally, it seemed like pandan and coconut — a staple combo of southeast Asian sweets — would be a perfect match for a wood-aged stout. Imagine our surprise when, during our blending sessions, the pandan actually paired better with pecans. The toasty and green notes of fresh pandanus helped amplify the sweet, brown sugary nuttiness of pecans. A new beer was born!
We selected barrels that had traits that we thought would further amplify those ingredients: casks with high vanillin, lactone, and toast. This led us to pull from some of the older beers in our wood cellar, all aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon casks. The balance of caramel, roast, and classic sweet Bourbon flavors make a great canvas for the nuts and pandan. The finished beer is luscious, nutty, appropriately sweet, and, despite a grocery list of ingredients, quite elegant.