It’s Friday night and it’s been a pretty good week. I spent most of the week following SXSW happenings online. Then the NCAA tournament started yesterday. Tonight, my wife and I went out for happy hour and had a couple of Hop Slams at Joe’s Stationhouse Pizza Pub. Right now, my wife is preparing for my daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. Even though I’m still on my diet, I decided to cheat and have this beer tonight after chatting with my friend @BettyWriter over Twitter. She sent me this beer a few weeks ago from Portland, with a note letting me know that it was made in collaboration with her friend’s ice cream shop, Salt & Straw.
Location: Poured into a large Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL
Numbers: 6.7% ABV, 31 IBUs, ~230 Calories
Appearance: It’s black in color with dark ruby highlights visible when held up to the light. It has a creamy, tan colored head, about a quarter inch thick, with some great retention and lacing. The aroma is dark chocolate like, with hints of coffee.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium, and the mouthfeel is a little creamy from the head on it. The flavor up front is lightly sweet with dark chocolate flavors and hints of roastiness. The dark chocolate flavors grow a lot in the middle both in sweetness and bitterness. The chocolatey bitterness grows in the finish, along with some dark roast coffee flavors. The finish is a very rich dark cocoa flavor with solid roasted coffee notes, which lasts in the aftertaste for a few minutes.
Food Pairing: The dark chocolate and roastiness would make this a perfect pairing with a steak on the grill or barbecued meat. I’d probably go with something like BBQed pork chops to help cut back the richness of the beer a bit.
Overall Impression: This is a very rich, decadent beer with lots of dark chocolate sweetness and coffee flavors. Unfortunately, the caramel maltiness I was hoping for was more dark chocolatey in flavor, and the richness of the roasty bitterness made it somewhat coffee-like. It reminded me a bit of the New Belgium/Perennial Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout I had not long ago. Overall, it was a rich dessert beer that stands solidly in its own, but left me wanting more sweet caramel maltiness, and slightly overwhelmed by the dark roasty flavors.