Six hours is a long time to sit in a car. Six hours on a curvy mountain road with two five year olds in the back (one of which gets car sick) is freaking hell. Sadly, my family has to drive through hell if we want to ski the steep and deep at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. And since Snowshoe is the closest we’ll get to champagne powder this season, we’re happy to pay the price. So six hours, two Red Bulls, 36 show tunes and one mild vomiting episode later, we’re sitting in our condo at the top of Snowshoe, giddy with anticipation for tomorrow’s powder.
And I need a beer. Actually, I need some bourbon—something strong to settle the nerves and help me forget the vomit and show tunes. Unfortunately, I don’t have any bourbon. Fun fact: the closest liquor store to Snowshoe is one hour away. Fortunately, I do have the next best thing—Local Species, a special release from Virginia’s Blue Mountain Barrel House that’s aged in white oak bourbon barrels.
Here’s how Blue Mountain describes Local Species: “A creation of deep-drawn well water, special barley malts, American hops and Belgian yeast. Aged in charred American White Oak bourbon barrels. A beer as original and beautiful as our native Brookie.”
That’s some heady stuff, especially considering that Local Species is actually a mellow, supremely drinkable beer. Given the description and the fact that the bottle is corked (not capped), I expected a serious Belgian that challenged my palate. But this beer is incredibly light and creamy, with just a hint of that Belgian yeast coming in at the backend to let you know you’re drinking something artful. Honestly, I didn’t get much bourbon or oak out of the beer, although I did experience an unexpected tinge of white wine as the beer disappeared on my tongue.
But if I’m being brutally honest with myself, I’m not in the right head space to actually taste this beer. I drink it damned fast, in like, seven big gulps, because, like I said, I’m coming straight off of a marathon of show tunes and vomit. And sometimes, you just need a drink.