Beer Review: Puzzles and Pagans (Burlington Beer Company)

Beer Review: Puzzles and Pagans (Burlington Beer Company)

Puzzles and Pagans (2021) by Burlington Beer Company

Puzzles… and Pagans…

First, let’s just begin by mentioning – Happy Thanksgiving – and a wonderful Black Stout Friday to everyone. And secondly, let me mention that the above picture is the first beer and the first meal of Thanksgiving I had yesterday. (I think I wish I did this one with the turkey meal, and the Choir of the Dead with the spaghetti, meatballs, but that’s neither here nor there.) Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving you Pagans, Heathens, and Puzzlers.

Who doesn’t love puzzles and pagans? And more importantly – who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs on Thanksgiving?

So this week, after work, I stopped at West Connection Beer Vault in Hummelstown / Hershey. Made me up a nice mix – a – six of mostly all stouts: Choir of the Dead, Strange Apparitions, and Puzzles and Pagans (all 2021) by Burlington Beer Company, as well as the World Wide Stout – Utopias edition by Dogfish Head, as well as also picking up a Secret Machine by Dewey Beer Co and the Electro Cooler by VooDoo. All in all, I would say it was one heck of a six pack, and the first three of them (all of the Burlington Beer Company ones) were fantastic, and don’t worry, each will get their own beer review here on the blog.

I actually debated which one of the three to start off with. If I should do Strange Apparitions, which I had Tuesday night while writing, the Puzzles and Pagans while having the spaghetti meatball lunch, or the Choir of the Dead which I had while eating turkey dinner. So… I decided to go with this. Because what sums up my day yesterday better, than doing a review that shows spaghetti and meatballs rather than turkey!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who eats spaghetti and meatballs on Thanksgiving? Apparently my mom. So… thus… the picture above. My girls, and I, visited my parents for Thanksgiving lunch, where we spent the afternoon watching football, playing Harry Potter chess, walking my parents dog Tink, and having good family time.

Don’t worry, for dinner, we went to my sister’s for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, …and goat meat. My brother in law’s family has a tradition of eating goat meat every Thanksgiving, as well as playing Lotteria (a Mexican Bingo game).

All in all it was a good day, and I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.

Burlington Beer Company

Ok, let’s move on from yesterday, and discuss the beer and the brewery. Burlington Beer Company is a really good brewery that doesn’t get brought into Central PA a whole lot, but when they do, they get scarfed up quickly! Like Other Half and some other breweries, its a big to-do at bottle shops like West Connection Beer Vault, The Fridge, Union House, and Breski’s Beverage, when Burlington Beer Company is brought in and in stock. And this was no exception, because this was a barrel aged stout drop.

West Connection Beer Vault, as well as several others, all got a few different Burlington Beer Co stouts as a drop. They got: Strange Apparitions (2021), Choir of the Dead (2021), Puzzles and Pagans (2021), and Incantations (2021). They had them in four packs, as well as mix-a-six singles. I decided to grab one of each (except for the Incantations) in the mix-a-six I mentioned above. If I recall correctly (and I could be mistaken) the four packs of each of these were 28.99$, and the single cans were 7.99$ (with a 10% off of on the whole mix-a-six six pack). So instead of plunking down 30$ for a four pack of each, I plunked down 24$ for 3 and had one of each. I wanted to throw in the Incantations, but alas, I was not able to make a mix-a-seven pack.

Anyway…. this is all to say that Burlington Beer Company is a good brewery, and one I’ve enjoyed, and one we’ve covered on the blog here before.

Statistics on them, from Untappd:

  • Micro Brewery from Burlington, Vermont
  • 151 unique beers
  • Global average rating of 4.02
  • 422,593 ratings (as of 11.26.21)

Their Untappd description reads:

Where Fermentation Meets Imagination We brew with local and international malts, hops, yeast, fruit, vegetables, spices, and herbs while we explore new ways to put our stamp on classic beer styles. We strive to find a balance between going too far and staying rooted in tradition. You can find our beer in cans and occasionally in bottles. Burlington Beer Co. is located in Burlington, Vermont. Est. 2014

Untappd – Burlington Beer Company

Ok, let’s now get down to it and review this beer.

Beer Review

Puzzles and Pagans (2021) by Burlington Beer Company

Beer: Puzzles and Pagans (2021)
Brewery: Burlington Beer Company
Style: Stout – Imperial / Double
ABV: 10%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Imperial Stout brewed with Raspberries & Toasted Almonds Aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Aroma for this is a delicious bourbon, roasted malt, and raspberries. I think the toasted almonds gets mixed in with the roasted malts of the stout, and perhaps gets overlapped by the bourbon itself. But this just smells like a delicious wonderful beer, no doubt about that.

Appearance is your standard stout, dark black, abyss staring you back in the face black, Razor Ramon hair black. It has a nice tan to brown creamy head, that left lacing the whole way down the glass, and also provided a lovely centimeter or so thick head to the top of the beer that stayed for a bit. Nice varied bubbles, no off coloring, not too much carbonation or too little.

Mmmmhmmm mmmmhmmm…. this was tasty and was so good. Probably would have went better with the turkey rather than the spaghetti and meatballs, but this was still fantastic all around. I do love my bourbon barrel aged stouts, and this was no exception to that. Its a very sweet, but with that still impactful punch and kick of bourbon, stout. The raspberry adds a sweet, and wonderful character to this stout, that really blends well with the bourbon and the two complement each other very well. I’m not sure if toasted almonds really comes through, and if it does, not quite sure how it blends in, because I primarily get the raspberry flavor, the bourbon kick and flavor, and then the stout baseline behind it all. I’m not a huge eater of almonds, so I’m not quite sure how discernable my tastebuds are to figuring out ‘almond flavor’ as well, and so I might be tasting it a bit more than I realize, but I want to say it probably gets blended in and absorbed with the roasted malt flavors of the stout. (I could be wrong, and if you think you taste a lot more almonds than I do, let me know in the comments.) All in all, this is just tasty, and it really lights up the flavorbuds and the tongue. It goes down nicely, not too super smooth, and you certainly can taste the booze and know that its 10% ABV, so its not a crusher, but its not too biting or too heavy bourbon that it is problematic to drink, or that its going to take you all day. Its probably best paired with a dinner, or maybe just sitting at the fire as a night cap, I don’t think you’d want more than one of these in a sitting, but, that takes nothing away from the beer. Some beers are meant to be that way, and some are meant to be pounded and a six pack drained in a few hours. All in all, I loved it, and thought it tasted fantastic with no bad aftertaste or off flavors or annoying characteristics at all.

My Untappd rating: ****.25
Global Average rating: 3.99 (as of 11.26.21)

(Curious note, when I started this article – the global average rating of the beer was 3.96. Til I finished this, and reloaded the page, it changed to 3.99. I also realized I didn’t put in my rating, which I had put in my notes as 4.25, but didn’t actually select on the screen, and then reloaded again, but that did not make an impact on the global average. So not sure if others rated it in that time and it changed, or if somewhere around 9AM they do a math adjustment each day and that changes it. Just thought it was a curious note that I’d add in here.)

Road Trip

So, I’m finishing this up, and we’re about to head out on another road trip. This time, heading down to Virginia, where we will be hitting Adroit Theory and Aslin Beer Company. With possible other stops along the way…. I’ll be posting more about that later! Also, check our Instagram for pictures!

Thanks For Reading

As always, thanks for reading everyone. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for our road trip pics, and be sure to enter our #FreeBeer giveaway.

To help promote Small Brewery Sunday. Check it out here:


-B. Kline

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