The World Needs No Hero: Evil Twin Brewing Co.’s No Hero

On the docket:  16 oz. can of Evil Twin Brewing Co.’s No Hero

S:  Frothy and full of a thick mass of bubbles, this one pours deep, deep walnut.  Espresso-foam colored head lingers, long, before settling down to almost no head.  Just a ring around the outside.  Great lacing, sticky and lattice-like.  Carbonation undetected.

A:  Baker’s chocolate/cocoa powder, graininess, and just the slightest hint of cinnamon greets the nose.  The hops are muted, letting the grain to the heavy lifting.

T:  The chocolate comes through on the palate, too, as does a slight flavor of coffee.  One may detect a dash of “cereal-ness,” the oats providing complexity in the flavor, not simply the feel.  There’s an initial sweetness, but the beer dries about halfway through, finishing dry and roasty.  Mild pine rounds out the finish, providing a balancing bitterness.

F:  Velvety, smooth, fluffy.  Creamy.  Medium-heavy.  It’s exactly what you should expect from an oatmeal stout.

O:  While not made with crazy ingredients, this is what I want out of an oatmeal stout.  And, a well-concealed 7% abv as well.  Great choice on the format- pint cans.  Like Velvet Merlin (and I do) but wants something a little heavier?  Pick up a 4-pack of this guy.  He doesn’t ask for praise or accolades.  You might think he’s no hero, but you’d be wrong.  He’s got greatness inside him.

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I’ll Give it a Lil’ A for Effort: Evil Twin’s Lil’ B

Aroma:  Cocoa powder, coffee, leather, tobacco, and a hint of booze.  Lovely malt driven fragrance that seduces the olfactories.  Follow you nose, you’ll get a hint of cinnamon.

Sight:  Inky-black soy sauce colored body envelops the glass, capped by a espresso-foam hued head.  It rises, floats in mid air, then dives back to the depths.  All’s left is a ring around the perimeter of the glass and a large butterfly-like pattern of the smallest of bubbles.

Taste:  Much of the nose follows through to the taste.  Ah, a newcomer, dry roasted malt and a dash of fig and plum.  Though it starts sweet, the tide turns mid-palate, and the leathery, coffee flavors rear their heads.  It finishes bitter and roasty, with more fig.  The alcohol, barely perceived until now, asserts itself on the finish, adding a warming sensation to the throat.  Possesses some qualities of a Russian Imperial Stout, but not as dry and hoppy.

Feel:  Medium-full, tannic, dry, and just a touch oily.  Great finish and keeps the beer’s sweetness at bay.  This is right where an imperial porter should be.  Full, but not overbearing.  Carbonation provides finesse and a little bit of a scrub for the taste buds.

Overall:  A great sipper, let the flavors evolve with this one.  Good for sitting in front of a fire, in a leather armchair, reading a small-type, 800 page epic novel.  Want to change it up?  Try it with a Java cigar.

Suggestion food pairing:  Earthy or nutty cheese, thick stews, chili con carne with smoked peppers, tiramisu, peanut butter brownies, as a cocktail beer.

A Spoonful of Muscovado Sugar Makes the Beer go Down: Southern Tier’s 2XIBA

On the docket:  Southern Tier’s 2XIBA.  Born on date:  7/21/15.  Not the freshest, but certainly within acceptable standards.

Poured into:  Snorkel Snifter with gusto.

S:  A head so khaki it makes my Docker’s look inept.  I might say “nice pants.”  Thick, uniform, thousands of microscopic bubbles.  Thorough but soapy lacing.  Underneath this nice set of pants, the body shows off a deep, dark, brown-black with a pleasant orange glow at the base, but you really have to look for it. Set behind the powder blue octopus and yellow lettering on the outside of the snifter, it’s quite artistic.

A:  Hops greet you immediately with pine, mango, melon trio.  A dark roasted malt aroma follows, with just a hint of sweetness and boozy heat.  Faint whispers of raisin or another dark fruit and molasses.

T:  I need to describe the experience back to front:  Scorpion-shell dryness and a sting of bitter hoppiness.  Mid-way through the smooth oats and dark, rum-like sugar sweetness.  It starts roasty, with pumpernickel bread which carries into the middle.

F:  Medium light, smooth due to the use of oats- definitely sense the “oatmeal stout” fluffiness. Prickly carbonation, enough to lift some of the sweetness away.  It’s hard to see the bubble activity due to the SRM that must be about 40 or so.  Dry finish, it’s a good thing because of the sugar present in the brew.  Despite the 8% abv, no alarming sense of heat from the alcohols.

O:  ST brings you a dark party in your mouth.  It’s complex, a balance of dark, bitter, sweet, and creamy.  These guys seldom disappoint.  I’d love to try this fresh out of the tank.  I’d call this a one-at-a-time brew due to the intensity of the palate (2IPA strength not withstanding).  Fans of Carton’s Epitome or Founder’s Dark Penance would enjoy this (I loved both).  Nice spin on ADAs with the addition of the Muscovado sugar, you can taste it.

S:  4  A:  4.25  T:  4.5  F:  3.75  o:  4.25

Suggested food pairing:  a tough one, but perhaps tangy barbecue pulled-pork sliders, Danish bleu cheese, bread pudding or dark chocolate brownie