Ok, it wasn't in the park and it wasn't the Fourth of July. But the Saturday part of the song. That's on...Ohhh, and what a Saturday it was. Carolina wins, Duke loses. It's a good day in sports. And it all ends with numerous pints of Guinness and a Irish Car Bomb at my favorite Irish pub in New Orleans, Finn McCool's. And laughing with friends so hard, I was clutching my stomach and wiping tears from my face. This is AFTER I had already consumed my four beers for the day. Yep, folks, I have an iron will, and a tolerance for Guinness which dumbfound most men. Happy Saturday! After work, I sat at Clever, our wine bar adjacent to Cork & Bottle, and continued my journey with great conversation....
Hitachino Sweet Stout: ABV: 4% Still skeptical on the whole Milk Stout thing, I decide to give it a third try with the well-known and respected Hitachino brewery's Sweet Stout. This is in fact a Milk Stout (lactose added) and like most others, carries a fairly low ABV, at 4%.
So let's get down to brass tacks...What did it smell like? I'm serious here folks....Fruit Roll-Ups. Suddenly I am 10 years old pulling that bizarre colored "fruit" sheet from its plastic backing...I'm as shocked as you are, believe me, but I smell what I smell. What I am getting at here is that it carries fruit aromas, but a concentrate/extract aspect rather than a plucked piece from a tree or vine. Unlike the strong black currant notes of the Farson's Lacto Milk stout, this one is apricot and peaches! I was so surprised.
This is definitely the most "pleasant" of the Milk Stouts I have tried so far. What is unusual about this experience is that I tasted this beer a few months ago, and I have NO memory of apricot/peach and CERTAINLY not Fruit Roll-Ups! That I think I would have remembered! My brain wants to recall sweet vanilla extract and molasses on the nose. And there is some of that here definitely. But that was to be expected. Perhaps the difference is the framework, as I had been sampling red wines and the dreadful coffee porter which follows here, previous to drinking the Hitachino. So in comparison, the fruit notes shot out from their heavier counterparts...Hmmm. All in all, this Milk Stout was not bad, and it was fairly easy for me to consume. If you are looking for a dark, but low alcohol beer at the end of the evening, this might be your beer....
Meantime Coffee Porter: ABV: 6% Picture Cleveland of Family Guy fame in his falling bathtub: "No, no, no, no!" That's kinda what I said when I smelled and drank this beer. There has GOT to be something wrong here. Meaning out of date, heat scorched, spoiled, something. Anything to explain the catastrophe that awaited me...
I had the Meantime London Porter, and while I was not blown away like some others, I thought it was very interesting with its yeastiness, and quite fine to drink. THIS wasn't even in the ballpark. It wasn't even the same sport. Something is amiss. It smelled like wet, butt-filled ashtrays and burnt coffee. Having been a bartender on and off for 10 years, I am ALL too familiar with those two smells. UGHH.
And then there was the palate. Pretty much if you took that wet, butt-filled ashtray and dumped it in the burnt coffee, there's your cocktail. In fact, the taste was almost grainy, as if coffee grounds had made their way into the bottle. As a beer drinker, I was offended, as a person who makes her living smelling and tasting, I was appalled.
I repeat, there HAS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG HERE. There is no way this is the intended product. And just to ensure I had not totally spilled my marbles, I passed it around to several others, and they all crinkled their noses in disapproval, and made comments like "horrible", "gross", and even "vile." SO beer folks...I am going to obtain another bottle from my distributor and check this out. Will report soon....
Michelob Porter: ABV: 5.9% Ok, so I decided to give the big guys 1 SHOT at a stout or porter, and THAT IS IT. I know Bare Knuckle Stout is an Anheuser-Busch product, but that isn't around New Orleans, so I figured, what the hell, let's try this one.
It looks and tastes exactly like what I expected it to. A light and delicate nose of maple syrup and brown sugar. Not offensive, but no real surprise there either. The color is light brown, and could have easily passed for an amber or brown ale. There is some tobacco on the finish, but that just about wraps it up.
I can see this being a beer for game-day tailgating. Would probably work for a crowd of not-so-heavy beer drinkers, who want something a little sweeter and darker than a light beer, but are nowhere near wanting a big, burly stout or baltic porter. This is a brew I imagine, that Michelob created to try to reach out to the craft beer crowd and simultaneously look cool to their Mic Light and Mic Ultra drinkers. I don't know, just a guess....
Big City Brewing Jamaica Stout: ABV: 7.6% I had no idea they made a stout in Jamaica....Did you? Anyway, I had heard pretty good things about this one, so I was eager to try it. A definite nose of molasses and caramelized sugar cane. I realize it is partly power of suggestion, but I do think of the Caribbean and my good friend from the Dominican Republic (Hey Ingrid!) when I get sugar cane aromas.
There are definite notes of sweetened coffee and milk chocolate as well. In particular I am drawn to think of Milk Duds. Movie theatre and all. Meanwhile, I'm sitting with Becca and Mark Pagani, photographer extraordinare and I am thinking of a comedy scene where a guy is moving his head back and forth and rotating his neck and singing "Hey mon." But for the life of me, I can't place it.
So I decide to say it out loud, and instantly Mark face shows that spark of recognition and he says, "Hahaha that's from the Cosby Show." Becca and Sean, younger folk, look at us with blank stares as we laugh heartily recalling the scene. I tried desperately to find it on youtube to post here, but with no luck. For those of you old enough to remember, it was hilarious.
This is a simple, easy beer to drink. Not terribly complex, but in a climate like Jamaica, you don't necessarily want something like Dark Force to drink while lying on the beach! I am actually surprised the alcohol content is as high 7.6%. In body style, compared to say the Sinebrychoff Porter at 7.2%, this is world's lighter. I would have guessed maybe 5% honestly. So if you are into stouts and into Jamaica, give it a whirl....
UNTIL LATER, CHEERS!