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.

A Howling Good Time: Rusty Rail’s Wolf King Warrior Stout

Wolf_King_Warrior_Rusty_RailOn the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Rusty Rail’s Wolf King Warrior Imperial Stout (brewed with coffee and oatmeal) bottled:  01/27/16

Poured into:  Stemmed Innis & Gunn logoed tulip

S:  An opaque walnut brown-black body that sports a khaki head, thick, creamy and full.  No lacing.  Head sticks around for a while before doing a vanishing act, residing as a small ring around the rim.

A:  An initial aroma of bittersweet chocolate and coffee greet the nose.  Added to this is a soft, breakfast cereal note, bringing me back to simpler days when my mother made me oatmeal on the stove.  Also present is a faint longer of anise and just a twang of pine and alcohol.  It reminds me a bit of an Export style stout, a style I enjoy.

T:  At the outset, one gets roasted coffee (as you should!), dark malt, dare I say chicory, and some sweetness.  There is certainly bitterness present, both from the roasted component, and the hops.  There’s also some citrus and pine from the hops, further deepening the complexity of its flavor.  As it warms, the 8.2% abv sticks out its tongue at you.

F:  Medium-light, with a slight astringency from the roasting of the malt and the addition of the coffee.  There is a creamy aspect, but a fine prickly sensation is left from the bubbles. The finish persists until drying off while leaving an unctuous, oily feel on the palate.

O:  This beer fights for your attention, tooth and claw.  You can’t help but take notice.  I think this is somewhat of a hybridization of styles– an Export/Foreign Stout meeting up with an Oatmeal Stout, has a drink of hard alcohol with it at a bar, and then collaborates to come up with a unique brew.  This isn’t such a strange conclusion, as the coffee originates from Costa Rica.  Mouthfeel could be a bit fuller, but overall, flavorful and easy to drink.  Decent offering from an emerging brewery.

Note:  The monogrammed object is my personal “Decapitator” by Corckcicle, a device one can use to remove the cap from the top of a 12/22 oz. bottle of beer.  Through this process, the cap is left nearly unscathed and unbent.  Does not work on capped 750 mL bottles.

S:  4  A:  3.75  T:  3.75  F:  3.5  O:  3.75

Suggested food pairing:  milk chocolate, nutty/earthy cheese, barbecued short ribs, mild chili

It’s Been 20 Years? Stone’s Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Stone_Bitter_Chocolate_Oatmeal_Stout

On the docket:  22 oz. Stone Brewing Co.’s 20th Anniversary Encore Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.  Bottled:  1/10/16.

Poured into:  Stone Brewing Co. branded pint glass

S:  An ebony body fills out the glass.  On top sits an espresso-foam tan head, thick and sustaining.  Lacing is thick and regular.  Bubbles may be present, but the body is so dark, I cannot see them.

A:  Great aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and cut oats.  The hops are lost under the amazing, midnight black medley.  As the beer warms, the alcohol is a bit more pronounced.

T:  The nose carries over into the taste.  Added to the fold is an initial sweetness.  It quickly fades, and the dark, bittersweet baker’s chocolate comes through.  Roasted coffee and a liberal dose of bitter hops carry on through to the finish.  Hops provide a piney punch on the end.  Alcohol is present as a pleasant tingle as the beer approaches room temperature.

F:  Fluffy, smooth, creamy.  For such a high abv beer, this one is easy to drink, mostly due to the oats, lightening the body.  It is titled Bitter Chocolate, and they’re not fooling around at Stone.  Between the hop bill and the treatment of the malt, there is a significant drying effect on the end of this beer.  Long finish, with a bracing bitterness.

O:  Luxurious, sweet but mostly savory.  For those looking for a “grows on you” type of beer, this is for you.  Dark chocolate fans should grab this one.

S:  4  A:  4.25  T:  4.5  F:  4  O:  4.25

Suggested food pairing:  Tiramisu, sweet cheesecake, nutty/creamy English cheese, barbecue with sweet sauce