As the name implies, the new Explorer Series beers by Tallgrass Brewing Co. are not for timid tastebuds. Three adventurous, limited-edition brews from Kansas’ largest brewer use innovative aging techniques and uncommon flavor profiles to offer off-the-beaten-path options for craft beer lovers.
Wooden Rooster is a honey-colored Belgian-style tripel ale aged in rye whiskey barrels. It is crisp but with warm spice notes and a long finish, almost like a cocktail. One glass packs a wallop at 9.5 percent alcohol by volume. The beer is a riff on a core Tallgrass brand, Velvet Rooster.
Bourbon Barrel Buffalo Sweat also is a souped-up version of an existing beer, Tallgrass’s best-selling Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout. The smooth medium-bodied beer has a faintly smoky aftertaste.
Big RICC is a high-octane, dark Russian Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and chocolate that clocks in at a hefty 10.3 percent alcohol by volume.
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Those three Explorer beers are currently available in liquor stores in the metro in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. Next month, a fourth Explorer beer will debut, Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat with Cinnamon, and a mixed four-pack will be sold in November and December.
The new series of limited-edition beers are a payoff of the company’s state-of-the-art new factory outside Manhattan. The move to the larger plant tripled production capacity, making it easy for owner Jeff Gill to meet growing demand for the company’s core brands and also experiment with craft offerings for aficionados.
All the new Explorer beers are also available at Tallgrass Tap House in downtown Manhattan.