James E. Pepper 1776 Ale… wait what? I’m reviewing a beer on a whiskey site?!? Well if you’ve been following along this is the last entry in the James E Pepper series I just did here on TWJ and I thought it would be fun to end the J.E.P. reviews with the James E Pepper 1776 Ale which, like their whiskey, is sourced. But it uses their (MGP’s) rye barrels so there is an actual connection here, it’s not like a Trader Joe’s label or something like that.
Before we dig into the first ever beer review here on TWJ I want to take a moment to thank the James E Pepper people for their transparency in what they do. It’s great that they are upfront about what they do, and what they don’t do, and that’s made me excited for their own distilled whiskey that will be hitting the market in a couple years. They’ve gained my trust, unlike someone else. Without further delay, here we go with the James E Pepper 1776 Ale review!
James E Pepper 1776 Ale Review
In James E. Pepper’s Words: James E Pepper 1776 Ale
“Like most whiskey aficionados, we also love a great beer. And in particular, we became very fond of barrel-aged beers, which from time to time had been aged in our whiskey barrels! So we decided to have some fun and make our own beer. We partnered with a great craft brewery (the Beltway Brewing Co. in Sterling, VA) and began working with their master brewer to create a beer that would age best in barrels that previously held our award winning James E. Pepper “1776” Rye Whiskey.
No more than 30 days after our whiskey barrels are dumped in Kentucky, they are at the brewery being filled with beer. This ensures that every batch gets a rich Rye whiskey finish and notes of toffee, chocolate, oak and vanilla. Because we buy barrels from the cooper to age our whiskey, and then we monitor that maturation process over the years until we bottle our whiskey, we have complete control over the age and type of barrels we use. We think that is a big reason why this beer has come out with such uniquely rich flavor and taste. Cheers!”
James E Pepper 1776 Ale price, ABV, age and other details
Region: Virginia, USA
Brewer: Beltway Brewing Co
Bottler: James E. Pepper
Mashbill: Not given
Cask: New Charred Oak
James E Pepper 1776 Ale Tasting Notes
Fruity, chocolate, blueberries, grape soda, malty roasty quality and a bit of spice and oak.
Chocolate covered blueberries, nutmeg, roasted malt, grape soda, nuts and a bit of spice.
Medium -> Grape soda, chocolate, roasted nuts and spice.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Good sense of balance, round heavy body and a soft velvety feel.
James E Pepper 1776 Ale Review – OVERALL
James E Pepper 1776 Ale is quite good and after sitting here sipping on it I’m thinking it might be fun to do more of these whiskey barrel aged beer reviews. I don’t want to deviate too much from the site, but whiskey is essentially just distilled beer and this is a beer that’s then aged in a whiskey barrel so it makes a bit of sense.
Anyways, the beer on a whole is quite delicious and it has a character that carries a nice chocolate covered fruit essence to it. I don’t see this as a beer I could drink multiple of, not a session ale, but one that I could enjoy one of with dinner. Though what I’d really like to do with the James E Pepper 1776 Ale is try it side-by-side with some of the ale pre-barrel to taste and smell the difference. It would make a heck of a two pack.
SCORE: 86/100 (B)