Thursday, June 7, 2018

Beer O'Clock: Vegan Stout


So says on the side of the can, just below the UPC symbol.

There were two stickers next to the scan stripes: the first was a printout that this can held 473mL of strong beer—5.8% ABV. The beer, this sticker read, was brewed and canned in San Diego, California.

When I peeled that label away, as it was taunting me to do, a similar message was printed on a second sticker. This time, the word "Strong" was missing, and the volume read an incorrect 355mL (this was a pint can, after all).

Having removed the first sticker, to see what lay underneath, I now felt compelled to remove the second sticker, to see what had been printed on the can, itself.

The alcohol content was repeated, as was the volume, though, in a simple "1 Pint" declaration. The rest of the covered space was the standard government warning about the unsafe consequences of consuming alcohol.

(I say "unsafe" because other consequences include unwinding, having fun, and enjoying good beer.)

With the Ontario election day upon us, I thought it would be good to get distracted and unwind with a nice, cold beer (after casting a ballot, of course: get out and vote!).

I thought I would turn to my favourite style of beer, and pick up a stout. And one of the best combinations of beer is stout and coffee. And so, at my local LCBO, I picked up a coffee stout from a California brewery—one I had never tried before.

Here's what I purchased and what I think about it.
Black House Coffee Roasty Stout (5.8% ABV)
Modern Times Beer
San Diego, CA
Appearance: deep walnut, like a very strong, black coffee. The head pours a foamy light-beige, that actually became thicker in the glass after I poured it (it almost overflowed) but settled to a thin but dense cap, and eventually turns to a light lace as the pint goes down.

Nose: this stout wasn't giving up much of its secret in the bouquet, though there was some coffee and wood. As the stout warmed up and was consumed, the nose opened and a richer coffee was perceived. The wood carried cedar tones.

Palate: medium-roasted coffee, cedar, and a combined hint of bourbon and port wine, with a slight touch of dark chocolate. The coffee is creamy, which is surprising, given that 75 percent of the coffee blend is Ethiopian (the other 25 percent is Sumatra). These are pretty strong brews.

There is a nice malt feel in the mouth, but the body is quite light and the finish has a slight watery feel.

Overall impression: this is an extremely easy-drinking stout. There's nothing overpowering, no in-your-face flavours. In fact, I could have stood for just a touch more coffee; perhaps, a little more chocolate?

But given that tomorrow could be stressful, depending on the results of the election, maybe a light, unassuming brew is just what I needed.

And, by the way, the fact that Modern Times promotes the beer as vegan ensures that one person won't even try it: one of my daughters, who is anti-vegan. (Whatever that means.)

Beer O'Clock rating: 3


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