Welcome back folks, and welcome to another Tap Trail review of epic bottle proportions. I want to extend a warm welcome to Terry who is going to be gifting us with some hyper local reviews of the good stuff being cranked out by our local breweries, while I’ll continue to focus on highlighting some of the awesome bottles that flow through our little town. The Tap Trail family keeps on growing, as do the number of local breweries, we have got a pretty sweet deal here.


I know it is a bit unorthodox to reach for a stout when it is 80º outside, but somethings are just too good to pass up, this is one of those things. Prairie has been killing it in the Imperial Stout game for a few years now. Their benchmark is BOMB! a 13% Imperial Stout aged on espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. A unique beer experience and a very well done example. Others have tried to emulate this, some with more success (Perennial Abraxas), than others (Westbrook Mexican Cake). Either way, Prairie BOMB! was a pioneer in my eyes. Birthday BOMB! takes that base recipe and amplifies it with house made caramel sauce, keep in mind that all the brewers have to work with is “nothing but black gloves and a propane tank.”

I and many others have been anxiously awaiting this beers arrival. Limited quantities were released in May, but none made it up to this market. There were bottles available in Seattle or Portland, but I didn’t quite feel compelled to drive all the way down to either for just a single beer. I did look for it on my trip to Portland, but it wasn’t as easy to find as some had made it sound.


Alas, patience has proven virtuous as a few bottles of this liquid fudge have finally made it to Bellingham, safe and sound. Let’s jump in and see what is in store.



Brewery — Prairie Artisan Ales | Tulsa, OK

Beer — Birthday Bomb | Imperial Stout

ABV / IBU — 13.0% / 65

Price / Oz — $10.99 / 12 oz

Availability — Extremely Limited

Appearance (3/3) — A rich and dense black liquid flows into the glass with zero light being able to pass through, even around the edges this is pitch black and rich. There is a slight coffee like head that forms, but it settles into just a thin oily layer.

Aroma (10/12) — Holy Hershey syrup, loads of melted chocolate and fudge, a little bit of vanilla caramel and a hint of fresh ground espresso, a great melange of aromas, it does smell quite a bit like a chocolate birthday cake or a tray of brownies.

Flavor (17/20) — Wonderful depth and range, everything from syrupy chocolate sauce to spicy dark chocolate and sweet vanilla caramel. There is no doubt a lot going on here, but it all just seems to work in harmony. A true sipper, but a great range of flavors.

Mouthfeel (4/5) — For as rich as the flavors are it doesn’t seem to linger past its welcome. A very well balanced and composed glass. A little bit sweet and lingering on the finish, but not detrimentally so.

Overall (8/10) — A great ode to the almighty BOMB! this is a great amplification of the base beer and it drinks like a liquified chocolate birthday cake. A great bottle to grab and sip. Not something I would have more than occasionally, but they did a great job with this one, very well balanced and smooth. Just a massive and unapologetic imperial stout to celebrate the anniversary of one of the best in the business.