Two of the Quad Cities’ favorite flavors are meeting as Bent River Brewing Company’s Uncommon Stout meets Mississippi River Distilling Company’s Cody Road Bourbon.
“We’ve had a lot of fun messing around with barrel-aged beer that we’ve tapped occasionally at our bar,” said Bent River’s Co-Owner and General Manager, Nick Bowes. “We thought it was time to step up to a wider release. The guys in LeClaire have been great to share their barrels, so we figured we should start at the top with our most popular beer, Uncommon Stout.”
Ryan Burchett, Owner and distiller at Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, said he had one request when approached with the idea: “When Bent River said they wanted to do a larger-scale, barrel-aged beer, I pleaded with them to use Uncommon Stout. It’s one of my all-time favorites.”
Mississippi River Distilling Company gave Bent River over thirty of their oak whiskey casks that had been used to age Cody Road Bourbon Whiskey. The barrels went to Bent River’s Rock Island Brewery and Distribution Center where they were filled with a special batch of Uncommon Stout.
“We needed a big beer for the aging process,” added Bowes. “We doubled up the grain to really bring home the flavor. The rich oatmeal and coffee flavors dance perfectly with the vanilla and bourbon notes from the oak. It is big, sweet and delicious!”
Burchett says it’s all about being local: “Cody Road Bourbon is made from grain sourced directly from farmers within twenty-five miles of our distillery. Uncommon Stout is one of the quintessential Quad Cities brands. So to work with a local partner to do something unique to the Quad Cities is a ton of fun for us.”
The result: Barrel Aged Double Uncommon Stout will be sold as four-packs of specialty bottles. Each bottle hand-dipped in yellow wax to seal the cap. Bowes expects it will be a collector’s item for many Quad Cities beer fans: “This is what our biggest fans have been asking for. I know a lot of these bottles are going to be cherished and kept for a while. We kicked up the coffee so that if someone put a bottle away for a couple years, all the flavors would still stand tall.”
The beer is being released on Saturday, April 16th, at the Bent River’s Rock Island location. Tickets to the launch party have been sold out for weeks. “Whatever is left after [the 16th] will be distributed to retail stores,” said Bowes. “We don’t expect to have a whole lot left, though.”
Plans are already in the works to do the beer again next year. But beer isn’t the end of the project. Mississippi River Distilling Co. will also introduce a new, limited edition whiskey collaboration with Bent River later this year. The distillery took some of the barrels back after Bent River was done aging beer in them. “We transferred two-year old Cody Road Bourbon back into those barrels for finishing. After a little over six months, we will bottle that whiskey. We’re calling it Cody Road Uncommon Double Barrel. The residual Uncommon Stout flavors should make it really interesting,” said Burchett. “We’ll release it at the distillery on Black Friday. The guys at Bent River are even saving back a keg or two of Double Uncommon Stout so we can have a release party with the whiskey and have the two side by side.”