by Brian Wall
To our north rests an upcoming brewery that is nestled in Krebs, Oklahoma just outside of OKC. Started by a couple of brothers, Prairie Artisan Ales is making a national name for itself with the beer selections and quality. The farmhouse ales are a superb example of category and the imperial stouts are often sought after across the country for the flavors that are produced. In this go instance, the newest offering is a collaboration with Evil Twin Brewing from Brooklyn, New York and aptly named Bible Belt. While this beer was available in limited quantities at the Big Texas Beer Fest, it was released in the DFW area by bottle this past week. Most stores that sold this brew sold out quickly or had stock limiting patrons to one or two bottles only. Reports from beer traders confirmed that this is a strongly desired beer as distribution is limited to Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Bible Belt is a combination of Prairie Bomb from Prairie Artisan and Even More Jesus from Evil Twin. The beer rings in at a strong 13% abv and is the color of utter blackness. For those of you that have not experienced an imperial stout, this beer category is very high in alcohol, very strong in flavor and almost seems to absorb light with how dark it can be. This beer is obviously no exception to those rules. The label shows that the beer is aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and chili peppers. The initial pour is rather thick and viscous at first glance. The scent is quite complex with heavy malt, vanilla, chocolate and a slight peppery hint.
The first taste of this beer is just an explosion of everything in layers. The malts peek through the coffee overtones and chocolate hint. The vanilla is slightly overpowered but still present. The peppers peek through all of the flavors to let you know that they should not be forgotten but the heat is not as noticeable on initial taste. They do creep up towards the end of the mouthfeel but there is still no serious heat to this beer. Alcohol is not overwhelming but definitely present and can catch one off guard when you drink it.
Overall, this beer is very complex and very impressive. It should be respected as the alcohol is not very noticeable. The flavors are a nice balance without getting too crazy. The beer may be difficult to locate but there still may be some bottle or even kegs left in the metro.
Prairie Artisan has definitely shown itself to be a world class brewery and with a simple three hour drive north, it may be something to consider on a Saturday for a tour. Be sure to look for their other beers and try a sample or two. Slàinte.