While gold, frankincense, and myrrh are traditional Christmas gifts, times have changed—especially in Colorado, home to around 300 craft breweries. So for the beer lover(s) on your shopping list, there is definitely no shortage of excellent local beers, a gift any beer enthusiast is sure to appreciate. With that in mind, let me introduce you to the three items that top my list this year: Epic Brewing Company‘s Big Bad Baptist, Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist, and Big Bad Baptista.
Big Bad Baptist is an Imperial Stout aged in whiskey/bourbon barrels and infused with coffee and cacao nibs. While it’s not a brand new beer, every batch is distinct, as each one gets a different dose of coffee. This year, it contains coffee from three different roasters: Blue Copper Coffee (Salt Lake City), Novo Coffee (Denver), and Dark Horse Coffee (San Diego).
As if Big Bad Baptist wasn’t enough, Epic really outdid themselves this year with two new creations.
Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist is the perfect beer for those who are fans of all things barrel aged. Double Barrel refers to the fact that not only is the beer aged in whiskey barrels, but the coffee is as well. That’s right–Hot Box Roasters in Longmont, Colorado aged green Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans in whiskey barrels, and the result is nothing short of amazing.
When I first heard about Big Bad Baptista, I was extremely intrigued and excited. Inspired by traditional Mexican coffee, Café de Olla, Baptista is brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, cacao nibs from Solstice Chocolate (Salt Lake City), and Mexican Coffee (roasted by Blue Copper). I have a thing for Mexican coffee beers. I’ve only run across a few of them over the years, but I always enjoy them and am on the lookout for new ones to try. Baptista blew me away. It didn’t seem to have the heat that some Mexican coffee beers do, but I picked up on a little spiciness from the coffee itself. I could drink this any time, but it makes an excellent dessert.
Speaking of dessert, all three Baptists pair well with dark chocolate desserts and hard cheeses—making them great choices for holiday gatherings. Other pairing suggestions are Belgian waffles and BBQ brisket.
Also of note is that, as of today (December 16, 2016) Epic Brewing’s Denver tap room has Son of a Baptist available on draft and 6-packs! It’s an 8% ABV Imperial Stout, but is not barrel-aged like Big Bad Baptist. Its flavor profile was specifically designed to highlight the complex and often unique flavors of small batch coffees.
Epic does a phenomenal job with all of the beers in the Baptist series. If you like strong, dark, bold beers with lots of flavor, the Baptists are for you. I highly recommend them all!