Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the 11th beer of Christmas. . .

Wasn't sure if I wanted another stout tonight or a fruit beer, then I realized I don't have to choose. I've got a cherry stout in the fridge -- which I picked up at Total Wine for $3.49. I've had cherry stout before but not many, not for a long time and not from Bell's. This cherry stout like the previous one is brewed in Michigan which must the only place in America cherries grow.
Kind of skimpy on art and info on the label. A picture of a tree with only three cherries (which have fallen off the tree) which doesn't sound like much but they are enormous. Each one as big as the entire tree trunk; it's a wonder the tree could hold them at all. On the back it says "A mysterious dance of tart Michigan cherries with the dark, roasted malts of a big and bold stout."

Enough thinking; let's get to drinking:

APPEARANCE: Pours inky black with a caramel-colored head that dissipated before I could photograph it. I held it up to the light to see if there were any ruby tints but no, it's all black. Not much in the way of bubbles either. This doesn't look like cola, flat or fluffy. It looks like a glass of ink or -- I hesitate to say it -- soy sauce.

AROMA: Dark chocolate, dark fruit.

TASTE: Very interesting. It seems like I can taste cherries first, but they're sour cherries, not sweet. Then the bitter dark chocolate taste takes center stage and then when you swallow the cherry taste returns, this time cleaner and lighter than before. I can't detect any hops at all. The bitterness is all from the cherries. How can I tell? Hop bitterness feels different like a tingle on your taste buds, especially at the back of the mouth. This is more of an all-over tongue experience.

MOUTHFEEL: Not nearly as thick as most stouts. The aftertaste of sour cherries and dark chocolate lingers for a long time.

DRINKABILITY: Very refreshing. But as I'm learning about my beer tastes, whenever I drink something way overbalanced one way or the other -- in this case malts -- it makes me crave something with a little of what's missing -- in this case hops.

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