The draught beer, with an ABV of five per cent, is a collaboration between Kissingate Brewery in Horsham, West Sussex, and Buffalo Trace’s UK distributor, Hi-Spirits.
Since March 21, it has been previewed at pubs operated by Brighton-based Indigo Pub Company, including the Wick Inn, Hove, but Hi-Spirits and Kissingate plan to roll it out nationally.
Gary Lucas, head brewer at Kissingate, has created a dark beer with a distinctive hoppy character, balanced by rounded fruit and floral flavours. Barrel char from oak barrels used to age the bourbon at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky is added during fermentation.
The charred interior of the barrels absorbs the complex flavours of the bourbon which is aged for at least eight years. This barrel char infuses the beer with some of the vanilla, citrus and spice notes that characterise Buffalo Trace.
Gary said: “With any brew, the more ingredients and flavours you work with, the greater the challenge. I wanted to reflect the distinctive flavour of the bourbon without allowing it to overpower the beer, and using the barrel char was an interesting way to achieve this. I’m delighted with the end result.”
Beer writer Melissa Cole describes the combination of the beer and bourbon flavours in Buffalo Black IPA as “coming together in a symphony of floral confection and spirituous song”. She adds: “Complex, warming and sinfully delicious, it is a beer to be savoured.”
The limited supplies of the first batch brewed are exclusively available in Indigo’s pubs including the Wick Inn, Hove, where Hi-Spirits ran pop-up bar The Buffalo Bourbon Empire for Buffalo Trace whiskeys earlier this year.
Jeremy Hill, chairman of Hi-Spirits, added: “The Boilermaker, a beer with a shot of Buffalo Trace on the side, is one of the most popular serves at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up bar which has so far appeared in London and Brighton.
“The strong affinity between bourbon and beer inspired us to work with Kissingate to develop Buffalo Black IPA. With both craft beer and bourbon increasing in sales, Buffalo Black IPA will have a strong appeal to consumers in both camps.”
Chris Broomfield, director of Indigo, said: “Both Buffalo Trace bourbon and Kissingate’s beers are popular with our customers, so we have high expectations that Buffalo Black IPA will have a strong appeal on the bar.
“The fact that this is a craft beer from a respected UK brewer, rather than just another bottled lager flavoured with a dash of spirit gives Buffalo a real point of difference. Authenticity is very important to our customers.”
Indigo’s other pubs include The Queen’s Head, The Cow, The Hop Poles, Molly Malone’s, Good Companions, The Prince George and The Temple Bar. Click here for a full list.