Beer Week: The spectacular Skillet six

Photo by Sarah Arnaudin

Looming in the distance throughout Beer Week has been Burial Beer Co.’s Skillet Donut Stout Six Ways. On Friday, May 30, the weeks of patiently waiting came to an end as the Buxton Avenue brewery triumphantly presented their staple 8 percent ABV brew (quite possibly the best beer in town, flagship or otherwise) aged with six different adjuncts.

Though individual pours were available, along with truffles or chocolate square pairings from French Broad Chocolate, most patrons (including this reporter) went for the full flight of six:

  • bourbon oak
  • chocolate mint
  • fresh raspberries
  • coconut
  • vanilla bean (a.k.a. Skilli Vanilli)
  • peanut butter

Beyond the bourbon oak (my favorite on the board), the rest of the infusions had the potential to go horribly wrong (few drinks are worse than a bad “stunt” beer). Yet true to Burial’s reputation for high-quality unusual batches, none did. Just below the day’s winner, battling for silver and bronze, the salty, toasty peanut butter lived up to its billing, and while Burial has done well with coconut in a past split batch, it was a pleasure to drink it again.

Concerns that the chocolate mint might taste like one of those nasty artificially flavored York Peppermint Patty knockoffs were likewise put to rest as the brew started off nicely and became more herbal as it settled. (In fact, all six improved by sitting for a few minutes, which allowed the flavors became more pronounced.) Even the risky raspberry experiment, one that has so often tasted like seltzer water when attempted by other breweries, was a success, albeit the least impressive one in the flight and just below the subtle but still solid vanilla bean.

With a line appropriately out the door at 4:45 p.m. and out to the sidewalk at 5:30, the raspberry, coconut and peanut butter kegs kicked shortly before 7, and all were gone by 8. Those unable to attend or unwilling to wait definitely missed out, but knowing Burial’s penchant for trying new things, the opportunity for another event of this caliber shouldn’t be far off.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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