Editorial Dept.'s picture

Cape May Brewing Co. Head Brewer Brian Hink Talks Bourbon Barrel-Aged Concrete Ship

92 Rating - Exceptional
Cape May Brewing Co. Head Brewer Brian Hink Talks Bourbon Barrel-Aged Concrete Ship

We spoke with Cape May Brewing Co. Head Brewer Brian Hink about Bourbon Barrel-Aged Concrete Ship.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
Our original Concrete Ship recipe was developed over a few years by one of CMBC's owners, Chris Henke, who used to do all of our brewing prior to my joining the company in 2013. After barrel-aging sours exclusively for several years, we got into the spirit barrel-aging game in 2016, and that's when I realized that our original Concrete Ship recipe needed some help to stand up to life in the barrels. So, building off the great foundation Chris had laid down, I transformed the base beer into something slightly more complex and rich to help with extended barrel aging.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I love how silky smooth it is, despite being over 10%. It's super chocolaty with the strong notes of the bourbon barrels coming through, a touch of heat -- but only a touch -- which adds a nice complexity. You definitely get the barrel's influence here, but it's not so over-the-top that it's blurring the lines between the base stout and the bourbon character. I think it came out exceptionally well-balanced, and I couldn't be more pleased with the end results.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
The S.S. Atlantus is a retired WWI concrete ship that ran aground off the shore of Cape May's Sunset Beach back in June of 1926. Parts of it are still visible to this day, and it is an iconic image on New Jersey's southernmost point. Everyone refers to it simply as the Concrete Ship, so we borrowed that name for our big, bold Imperial Stout. Laying it down in freshly-dumped bourbon barrels felt very right, and thankfully our Concrete Ship has had a better fate thus far than the Atlantus.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?
This could be a dessert island beer, because if a dessert island existed, I could imagine nothing finer than drinking lots of this and drunkenly eating brownies. But no, this is most definitely not a desert island beer -- as much as I love this beer and how rich and decadent it is, I can't imagine drinking a ton of it lost on an island somewhere.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Rich, indulgent, complex, subtle warming quality and deliciously smooth.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
This is the perfect beer to sip while preparing a nice cut of sirloin. Being a 19.2 oz can you can have half while cooking the steak and, by the time you eat, the other half of the beer will have warmed up nicely to really let the flavors fly.

Read Review