Tough Love 2020, from Crux's [BANISHED] series is set to be released Thursday, Nov. 12. Don't be jealous, but I was given the opportunity to snag a pre-release bottle! I totally squealed with glee. I LOVE this beer. Sticking with tradition (since the first release in 2012), I drink one, and I cellar one. I bring out a vintage bottle from my "cellar," which is really the bottom shelf of my pantry, on Thanksgiving and Christmas every year to share with my friends and family. My most favorite of traditions! This year's Tough Love was "banished" to Buffalo Trace barrels and comes in at a whopping 14% ABV. This bottle is for sharing, folks!
Let me tell you why I like Tough Love so very much. First, it's so well balanced and decadent. It really feels like a special treat. Opening the wax-dipped bottle is so exciting! When poured, this year's Tough Love builds a light, frosty head, the color of chocolate. The beer is very dark. On the nose are strong aromas of bourbon and oak. On the first sip is also the taste of blackstrap molasses. The bourbon and oak also carry through to the taste. The mouthfeel is somewhat heavy and wonderfully rich, but the balance keeps me going back for another sip. Tough Love finishes with the nice, slow burn of bourbon, but dissipates pretty quickly. For a beer that's 14% ABV, that's to be expected.
This is a beer you share with or gift to your family and friends to show off your beer geekiness. It's also a fantastic gift. I have gifted this beer to family for Christmas, weddings and birthdays, and it's always happily accepted. I highly recommend buying a bottle to drink now, as well as a bottle to age. It's really amazing how much more refined this beer can be after a year, and even better after two. My family will be enjoying a nice bottle of 2019 Tough Love this year during Thanksgiving. It pairs well with bourbon pumpkin pie! Tonight, as I write this, I'm pairing my Tough Love 2020 with Bonta's Pumpkin Spice gelato and it's a real winning combo.
Mask up and get over to Crux for its 8th annual release of Tough Love. According to Crux's Facebook page, the first 50 people to buy a bottle of Tough Love and a commemorative glass will receive a free poster and a gift box for their glass. Doors open at 11:30, but Head Brewer Cam O'Connor will pour samples from 5 to 6 pm on Thursday. Cheers, and an early Happy Holidays to everyone!
Tough Love Release Sample Pouring
Thu., Nov. 12. 5 – 6 pm
Crux Fermentation Project
50 SW Division St., Bend