Cambridge Brewing Company has been around long before this modern renaissance of craft beer. Founded in 1989 in Kendall Square near(ish) MIT, this brewery has been churning out heady experiments for more than 25 years (sake-beer hybrids, anyone?). It’s just that most folks outside of the Boston beer scene haven’t heard of them, and that’s because CBC has chosen not to bottle throughout most of its history. About five years ago, they created the Bottling Project to get some of their favorite beers into the hands of people beyond their brewpub, but even that project has been super limited.
Last year, Cambridge sent some of its Imperial Stout down to Buffalo Trace so it could vacation in oak bourbon barrels for 10 months. Upon return in the fall, this varietal of You Enjoy My Stout (YEMS) became one of the latest releases in the brewery’s Bottling Project—meaning if you (like me) were lucky enough to have a Boston-based friend in-the-know, you could soon find out whether you do enjoy their stout or not.
As CBC’s local reputation would hint, YEMS is an excellent barrel-aged stout you wouldn’t mind drinking even as the country defrosts. For as much power as this beer packs at 10.5% ABV, the overwhelming takeaway is its richness.
CBC combined chocolate malt, caramelized grain, and black barley along the way, creating a dark and decadent beer. The first sniff is that lush chocolate, the kind of nose you wouldn’t mind having a post-baking kitchen replicate. Overall the bourbon influence isn’t overwhelming like in some of YEMS’ barrel-aged contemporaries. It adds a hint of vanilla and some smokiness to an already great chocolate-espresso core. You’ll want to smell, sip, savor, and undoubtedly do it all again… that is, if you can still find it. It’s time to make that overdue weekend trip to Boston happen.
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
City: Cambridge, MA
Style: Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels
Availability: Limited, part of the company’s bottling project (comes in a bomber)