Giving up a First Growth Bordeaux lunch at Emeril’s on Friday was NOT easy, BOOOO, so I made myself feel better by drinking one of my favorite brews, Green Flash Double Stout. I headed over to Virgil’s, just as his new batch of the Man in Black Stout was delivered by his partner, Fred from Folsom. He taught me about “rocking the baby” (adding and distributing CO2) and more fascinating homebrewing techniques. It’s like going to school! I tell you that man’s knowledge of beer is…encyclopedic. Is that a word? So we dived in to the Green Flash with gusto, Virgil and Fred never having tasted it, and me only having imbibed on draft…
Green Flash Double Stout: ABV: 8.8.% Well, its just as I remembered, and just as deeeelicious. We all plunged in like kids unwrapping Christmas gifts, and looked at each other and said, almost in unison, CHOCOLATE. Lush, scrumptious chocolate. Then the coffee aromas emerged, high quality coffee with nutty flecks of hazelnut goodness. And then, surprisingly, a floral aroma…I don’t remember that, but it was there! A gentle, almost lilac note.
As it warmed, the chocolate continued melting through the glass, and baking spices jumped in the mix. Overall, a welcoming, almost comforting, luscious nose. The palate begins with a little bitterness when it’s colder, but as it warms up, and I SWEAR this is the truth, it tastes like chocolate milk. And WHO doesn’t like chocolate milk?!? It is really that smooth folks.
I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE, AND I SHALL SAY IT AGAIN, without the foggiest doubt in my head…if I could have this beer in a keg by my bed, I would drink it every morning for breakfast. And maybe someday I will. I’ll be sure to post THAT picture….
St. Peter’s Cream Stout: ABV: 6.5% Wellllll…..@$%*. I was avidly hoping that the Cream Stout was going to show world’s better than the Porter…..wah wah wah. Not so much. Yes, it was significantly better than what I still hope was a flawed bottle of porter, but it still fell FAR short of the expectations I had. Compared to the balanced, yet rich aromas and flavors of the Samuel Adams Cream stout, this one was kind of….well, a dud.
The nose was plagued, (perhaps that’s too harsh)….troubled then, with strong extracted fruit notes, in particular fig and a bit of black currant. Although the level of syrupy brown sweetness made it difficult for me to pinpoint otherwise. While there was some coffee on the finish, there was a significant lack of bitterness on the finish, which ultimately could have saved the beer.
What resulted was a cloying palate, which lingers, and leaves a flat taste in your mouth. And that is NOT what encourages you to take another sip, or certainly makes you want to purchase another. I gotta tell you folks, I haven’t been impressed with the St. Peter’s beers. Perhaps the other varieties are where it’s at, like two turntables and a microphone. But I’m not sure I’m willing to take that risk. There are too many great beers in the world to drink mediocrity. If you want to try a good Cream Stout, this isn’t it. Go for Sam Adams.
Goose Island Oatmeal Stout: ABV: 5.1% This beer is DELICIOUS. Seriously yummy. And WHAT a nose. Tons of smoky, meaty, firewood aromas come charging out of the glass like a herd of bulls. Its Pamplona in a glass. And oh yeahhhh, it followed through on the palate. Smoked meat galore. Sean said, “This tastes like smoked pork shoulder.” I haven’t the foggiest clue what that tastes like, but it must be damn good. I’m proclaiming this Oatmeal Stout to be the beer version of Cote Rotie, that incredible Syrah from the Northern Rhone. No kidding.
As the beer warms, dark chocolate enters the scene, so seductively giving you dessert after your main course of meat. It was the equivalent of that gum from Willy Wonka. You know the one that turned that poor girl into a blueberry? Yeah, like that, except without the Oompa Lumpas. Mingled with the chocolate, is notes of hazelnut and coffee. A delicious end to a gastronomic journey.
The Oatmeal Stout has a nice and long, yet clean finish, if that makes sense to you. Meaning, much like the Green Flash, it doesn’t need all of the bitterness to cleanse the palate. It finishes smooth and round. And yes, you still want more. AND MORE….
P.S. I am surprised at the B ratings on Beer Advocate. I think this gives Samuel Smith a serious run for the money in the Oatmeal Stout category. But frankly, their profiles are so different, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. And, I am a wine girl, so my nose is always on overdrive. I thoroughly and wholeheartedly enjoyed this beer, and plan on having many more in my future…
2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout: ABV: 13% HOLY WOW. I am speechless when I first excitedly plunge my nose into the glass. I have been saving this one, and Friday was the day to dive in…
Graham cracker. Molasses. Chocolate covered cherry. Pumpkin Bread. Caramel. Chocolate covered coconut. Toffee. It was seriously like the fabled “Dance of the Seven Veils”. Every time I stuck my schnoz in, I got a new explosion of aromas. All I could utter with a huge grin on my face was, “This is ridiculous.” My friend Ross, who also had a bottle of 2008, was just as wowed. He nailed perfectly aromas of nutmeg and eggnog.
This powerhouse stains the glass like a port would. It looks like a giant shot of espresso in the beer glass, with that same dark, intensely brown head. And to drink it is like eating a steak. With a shot of whiskey. I recommend this specialty brew to ALL beer lovers out there. It’s an experience you won’t ever forget. But prepare yourself. Its a doozy at 13%. Sip that baby like a cognac and feel that sweet heat down your throat. I believe I drank on this for close to 1 1/2 hours and that was plenty speedy. Because you want to enjoy and savor every luscious, insanely intense sip. Not for the weak at heart, and thankfully won’t clog the arteries. You GOTTA give this beer a go….
LATER TONITE ON A SEPARATE POST, READ MY INTERVIEW WITH THE LOVELY STACIA JANES FROM GOOSE ISLAND!!!