Cr&ftwerk Arrives (and Beer Geeks Cream in their Pants)

We've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Copper & Kings's "Cr&ftwerk" project since we first tasted the brandies from barrel at the Louisville distillery last Fall. While craft whisky producers have spent years trying to best capture the flavor of distilled beer into an interesting and sippable spirit, we think C&K may have the better idea: aging brandy, rather than whisky, in the used barrels from some of America's most iconic breweries. The finished result actually captures more of the that beery essence than the actual distillates we've tasted since the idea first took hold. All four of these are must-haves. If you send me an email asking which one you should buy, I won't be able to help you. The Sierra Nevada is going to be the least popular of the bunch because it's the less "crafty" of the beers, but it's the most complex and balanced of the brandies in my opinion. That's about as much as I can offer. I'll be buying one of each, however.

While they last (which won't be long)...

Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" 3 Floyds Stout-Aged Brandy $49.99- Bottled at 55.5%, the 3 Floyds edition takes C&K brandy and finshes it in former Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout casks. The rich and chocolatey flavor of that massively-textured beer comes right through on the first sip. The fruit from the brandy melds seamlessly with the vanilla and almost chewy texture from the beer residue, leaving a pure stout flavor on the finish. It's an absolutely incredible accomplishment, and fans of both C&K and 3 Floyds are going to go bonkers. Grab it while you can.

Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" Against the Grain Scottish Ale-Aged Brandy $49.99- Bottled at 55.5%, the Against the Grain edition takes C&K brandy and finshes it in former Smoked Scottish Ale casks. The first sip of the brandy yields the classic C&K character with the trademark fruit and oak flavors, but the finish is where the delicate and nuanced flavors from the smoked ale come into play. The graceful finish carries on for a good thirty seconds, and after a minute you're not quite sure whether you've just finished a dram or a pint! Very limited.

Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" Oskar Blues IPA-Aged Brandy $49.99- Bottled at 55.5%, the Oskar Blues edition takes C&K brandy and finshes it in former Imperial IPA barrels. The fresh hops and almost citric IPA flavors explodes on the palate, and the richness from the weight of the beer fills out the middle. The brandy flavors are so integrated they're almost unnoticeable. Serious fans of IPA won't ever want to be without a bottle of this.

Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" Sierra Nevada Porter-Aged Brandy $49.99- Bottled at 55.5%, the Sierra Nevada edition takes C&K brandy and finshes it in former Imperial Smoked Porter casks. Of all the four Cr&ftwerk editions, this is easily the most balanced of the bunch. It's equal parts beer and brandy, and the best parts of both beverages enhance one another beautifully. The mid-palate swirls with vanilla, smoke, and richness from the beer, but the citrus and spice from the porter reach a crescendo on the finish that's truly fantastic. Fans of craft beer may go gaga over the other three, but fans of single malt whisky will want this bottle first and foremost. It's like a smoky Speyside or lightly peated Highland malt. Well done.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll