Brooklyn Black Ops has a certain set of skills setting it apart from its hoppy compatriots: cloak-and-dagger marketing. But unlike so many over-hyped beers slain in reality by bellicose craft beer connoisseurs, Black Ops lives up to its name and rarified air. We also happen to have stashed a bottle of it 4 years ago in our office kitchen. So as a capstone to our weeklong Beer Week celebration, we uncorked, poured and tasted it.
A quick briefing. Brooklyn Black Ops is an Imperial Stout. It’s bourbon barrel aged (for four months), then bottled flat with a dose of champagne yeast for bottle conditioning. Ours, aged a further 4.5 years, poured smooth and frothy and filled the room with sweet chocolate and malt aromas.
Bourbon stouts like Goose Island’s can pile on the thickness, alcohol heat and richness, which is good and well if you prefer your beer measured in motor oil weight. But Black Ops covertly delivered substantial taste without the overblown intensity, causing none of the fatigue that so often forces the clearing of a drinker’s evening schedule. It was the perfect illustration of the always surprising, often complex state of craft beer, and more importantly, a reminder of just how damn delicious the stuff is — lest we forget it among all the other great people, art, and industry of beer.