My favorite kinds of beer at least in the Winter months are the Stouts -- those thick, black Guinnessy things. I've tried a lot of different ones and a lot of variations on the formula -- I like the chocolate stouts, but not the cream stouts which taste like somebody poured milk in my beer, and ever since a bad experience with white Russians I've firmly believed that alcohol and dairy products do not mix. On a recent trip to Total Wine -- probably my second favorite browsing place after a good bookstore -- I saw a type of stout I'd never seen before. A cherry stout. I hesitated a second before taking it home because my luck with fruit-y beers hasn't been so good. I mean I don't mind a lime in my Corona or even an orange in my Blue Moon (although I like it better sans fruit) but most beers brewed with fruit are too sweet for my taste. (Come to think of it, I seem to recall liking my beers a little fruity in the Summer time, like Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, but it seems like years since Summer was here and I've forgotten what it was like.)
Anyway, I did buy this beer and I must say I am impressed. This beer is from Michigan, where they know a little something about cherries, and evidently about beer too. You could definitely taste the cherry, but it wasn't overly sweet, not was it overwhelming. It just lightened things up with a hint, a tinge of sweetness that canceled out the sometimes bitter aftertaste of stouts. I am already looking forward to my next six-pack.
There is one thing I don't understand, and I hope somebody who knows more about these things can enlighten me. (That's a hint to my alcoholic brother, by the way.) How come this is referred to as a "malt beverage" on the label instead of a beer?