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Brasserie d’Achouffe McChouffe

May 3, 2010

Brewery: Brasserie D’Achouffe
Beer:
McChouffe, on draft
Style:
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
POP:
Map Room, Chicago
Price:
$6

They say not to mix business with pleasure, and I’ve always subscribed to keeping work and personal life separate. But that may be changing for a few reasons. First of all, in today’s increasingly freelance / e-commute / contract worker economy (well, at least in my field), that line is constantly blurred. There’s really no such thing as “work hours” or “free time”. If you are pursuing your passion, you’re never “off”. Complementary though, a mobile workforce allows for flexible scheduling during the typical workday.

And that’s why I’m writing this in a bar, the very first of a few informal meetings I hope to be hosting here at the Map Room. I’m billing it as a New Media Studies study table / coworking session and inviting people from my graduate program to converse ideas about anything media related. Professionals in a social setting, talking about their profession, socially. Follow that, and you get the idea.

Since it’s $1 off Belgians today, I’m rockin’ the McChouffe ale.

It pours a hearty brown color with a frothy off-white head. The head sticks around for quite a while, leaving a good bit of lacing that hangs around through the entire beer. The taste is pretty hearty – nicely spiced, but not overbearing. The Belgian yeast strains are smooth and subtle as well, but still weigh on the palate like a Belgian should.

The interesting thing about this one is that the flavor changes very little with the temperature. I sipped this one slowly (I mean, I did bike here after all) and warming doesn’t bring out any overly sweet flavors, extra spices, or even a different mouthfeel. This is neither good nor bad in my book; it’s just different.

Final verdict: Since I’ll be here every Monday for $1 off Belgians, I can see the McChouffe as a standby. I’d definitely buy it again.

Guest blog: Lost Abbey Judgement Day

May 2, 2010

This guest blog comes courtesy of NappyWhiteKid (aka John Guiney) of Olde School Honour. Despite taking forever to finally post this (John sent it to me about two months ago), a blog about Lost Abbey is rather timely, with the recent news that the Lost Abbey/Port tasting room has been temporarily shut down by the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health. Without trying to editorialize too much, I find it odd that wineries and distilleries with tasting rooms in California are exempt from the regulations that have shut down Lost Abbey’s tasting room. Though the folks at Lost Abbey may not agree with me (see their emotionally fueled blogs here and here), I understand the push for health regulation at a tasting room. But considering the other exemptions, a cease and desist seems crippling and excessive.
-bwm

Brewery: The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Company, San Marcos CA
Beer
: The Lost Abbey, Judgment Day Ale,750ml corked bottle
Style
: Belgian Dark Quad Ale
POP
: BevMo, Mission Valley, San Diego
Price
: $8.99

Okay, so as a disclaimer, I never really go to BevMo and tonight I only went with one thing in mind: St. John’s Brewery Beer. But when the clerk said that they no longer carried the brand, I had to make a quick decision. I turned around and saw the four horseman staring me in the face, and they were right; it was Judgment Day.

At 10.5% ABV, I knew that this was going to be sweeter, but I thought “it’s chilly in San Diego tonight, so what the hell.”

The bottle said Ale Brewed with Raisins, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With one “PoP!” it was judgment day. The beer pours thick, almost syrupy, a dark molasses in color. Judgment Day is black sitting in my SDBW taster glass. It foams up quickly on the pour, and then settles to a head of about one and a half fingers. Not overly carbonated, the head settles quickly.

With an aroma that resembles coffee, your mouth is bombarded with flavors on the first sip, and you know you’re drinking a strong, malty ale. The malt flavor mixed with the raisins gives a fruity hint without being offensive. Not as sweet as a barley wine, this beer definitely lives “an interesting life”.

The top few sips are smooth, yet strong. As you progress through Judgment Day, the end nears and it begins to get more serious. The main body of the beer retains an almost raisin/coffee flavor. The last few sips resemble a smooth whiskey, as the flavor tends to linger. With 10.5 % ABV, you have to expect that Judgment Day isn’t something to be taken “Lite”-ly.

Final Verdict: I know that on Judgment Day, this won’t be the last beer I reach for, but ya know what? Live an interesting life. Try it. Don’t go to it after drinking lighter beers all night, but for a sipping beer after a long day of work and classes, I’m not shaking my dreads in disappointment. Thanks for the excuse to drink a good beer.

Three Floyds Dark Lord – Dark Lord Day 2010

April 28, 2010

We came. We saw. Conquered? That’s debatable.

Yes, Dark Lord Day 2010 was of course the biggest DLD ever, reportedly reaching the anticipated 8,000 attendee mark. Chances are, if you’re reading this you’ve already read a few other posts by other more motivated bloggers (and even paid journalists!) about the successes and (mostly) perils of Dark Lord Day 2010. If not, I will break it down quickly.

First beers from the cooler.

1a. The bottle limit fiasco. Those with golden tickets were initially allowed a four bottle limit. That lasted from the on-sale at 11am until about 3pm, when they bumped it down to three.
1b. How it got bumped down to three I have no idea, because there were quite a few people (like me) who took advantage of the 2009 Dark Lord sale – which counted towards your bottle limit. I thought that was pretty lame too.
1c. I get that they’re trying to be mysterious and secretive, but when you’re having a cash-only sale that people are traveling for, it’s common courtesy to give folks a bit of a heads up and not rely on the (unreliable) rumor mill. (Seriously, I heard “confirmed” reports of the limit being 6, 4, 3, 8, and 12 bottles. 12. And this was about 10 minutes before the sale started.)

2. I know that it grows every year, but this year the actual attendance was almost exactly what they predicted. The parking directions, food tents, draft beer tents, and bathrooms did not match this. I would cut some slack if 25% more people showed up than initially planned, but this was not the case.

3. That which was not experienced. The guest taps were pretty hard to find, buried between the bathrooms and one of the tasting tables. (I initially thought it was a tasting table.) Thus – I missed out on all of them. Additionally, I have no idea how we were supposed to see any of the bands, as the only time I was inside the brewery was to purchase my bottle allotment and get shooed out. From what I understand, Monotoix was there, which would have completely blown me away.

Joe, The Beer Student, and Dark Lord 2010

My friend Joe picked me and Brad up a couple miles down the road and drove us in. I didn’t bring anything to share…the guest tap list was incredible, and I don’t have any rare beers cellared to share. Joe, however, brought a pretty epic cooler, containing Tyranena Porter, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, which is one of my favorite beers, a saison that we compared to the 3 Floyds Rabbid Rabbit, and a homebrewed smoked porter among others. Oh, and a Dark Lord ’08. We’ll get to that in a minute.

L to R: '08, '09, '10 Dark Lord

Having the cooler (and cups) turned out to be pretty clutch, as it took us about 3 hours to snake to the front of the line. (At which point, it merged with another line, a food line, and a bathroom line.) The most impressive thing to me was the sheer array of beers that people had brought to share. Though I didn’t try to wander around and mooch/trade beer with people, it was definitely there for the drinking. I did have some barrel aged Dark Lord though. And like most barrel aged beers, I found the whiskey flavor too overpowering. The community aspect of this event is second to none. It’s been said many times before: beer people are good people.

On to the Dark Lord. I should preface this by saying I’ve never had any year’s Dark Lord before. (Remember, lived on the West Coast since 2005.) But I knew to expect a heavy, viscous Russian Imperial Stout. Of course, the 2010 delivered as promised. Each golden ticket secured its owner a half-glass sample of the beer, and we also split a couple full pours as well. Honestly, it was a lot sweeter than I thought it would be – molasses, dark fruits, and sweeter malts are the most present flavors. Not a whole lot in the coffee/chocolate realm, which was a bit disappointing, but I guess that’s not really FFF’s thing. The hops are there, as is a pretty powerful alcohol finish. In most beers it would be out of place, but on something like this it seemed to fit.

Side-by-side comparison between '08 and '10 Dark Lord

As for the 2008, aging really brought out the alcohol bite. The finish on this one was huge – almost overpowering. The 2010 in comparison had a much cleaner finish and aftertaste, but if you’re really looking for a (tasty) punch in the gut, an aged Dark Lord may be the way to go.

So is this beer worthy of paying a $10 charitable donation, $15 per bottle, and waiting in line for 3 hours at a place that’s an hour’s drive away? No, it really isn’t. Not the beer alone. But the actual event – beervana, as some have called it – makes the experience. It was not the smoothest or most well planned thing ever, but again, beer people are good people. The event is what you make of it, and pretty much everyone there was in the proper mindset. I’ll probably be back next year.

Dark Lord Day 2010 – The Pre-Blog

April 23, 2010

The time is upon us. I’ll be attending my first ever Three Floyds Dark Lord Day on Saturday.

I've got a golden ticket... (Apologies to Ducky; props if you know what I'm talking about.)

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, you n00b. I’ve gone to like 5 of these. Where were you all this time?” Well, I’ve been living in California, that’s where. Three Floyds unfortunately does not distribute there. But I do chuckle when I see people looking for trades asking for Russian River’s Pliny The Elder, which the bar closest to my old apartment in San Diego had for $3 on Monday nights. Different parts of the country get different stuff. C’est la vie. Now, Pliny hasn’t touched my lips for 7 months or so, but an allotment of one of the most badass Russian Imperial Stouts will be mine tomorrow.Weep, Californians. Weep.

BeerNews.org has a good post here with some links to more Dark Lord Day info. The highlight, of course, being that this year’s Dark Lord is rumored to be a 15% ABV monster that packs 700 calories into a 22oz. bottle. Wow.

My camera is duct-taped up and ready to go, so hopefully I’ll take some good photos and have a nice media rich post-event blog. Until then, cheers!

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

April 22, 2010

Brewery: Oskar Blues
Beer:
Ten Fidy, 12 oz. can
Style:
Imperial Stout
POP:
n/a
Price:
Gift!

Craft beer in cans. Get used to it, because it’s the hot trend right now. I’ll admit, I was initially skeptical. Here’s why: craft beers are by no means ubiquitous in the overall beverage market. I do not question the tangible benefits of canning craft beers. Cans don’t allow any light in, they seal and preserve better than bottles, they’re much lighter, and aluminum recycles much better than bottles. Besides, you’re pouring it in a glass anyway; you won’t be tasting aluminum on your lips. However, the general populous likely has the perception that canned beer = cheap beer. What’s the average consumer going to think when he sees a four pack of tall boys for like $9? I know the audience already drinking craft and microbrews will be receptive to the idea, but I still worry about the perception from the Corn-and-Rice-Derivative-Light crowd.

Fortunately, I’m not one of those. That’s why I love that I open a can of beer and it’s not immediate foamy suds flowing out the side of the can. A nice soft pop. No suds. No bubbles all over.

This ain't no Keystone Light.

Pours thick and black with a one finger brown head. I let this sit for a few minutes, allowing the head to dissipate into a thin ring around the glass and a little bit of brown film on the top. This beer is blacker than the blackest black…not a hint of light is getting through anywhere. Malts, molasses, and maybe some dark fruit in the nose…it’s not very strong for as menacing as this beer looks. The first sip makes me a believer. Ten fidy this is good beer! Thick and sweet, the molasses flavor comes out more in the taste, especially as it warms.

So I got this from my friend Wally, who lives in Wisconsin. I don’t know that it’s actually available in Chicago. So is this like…$10.50 a six pack? I’m kinda curious now.

I dig that they put the “pack it in, pack it out” on the can. Can you imagine taking this on a camping trip? Wait. I think I’m going camping in a couple months. Sweeet. I’m gonna trump all the fizzy yellow beer with this manly brew…which I’m assuming I can pick up for ten dollars and fifty cents. Somewhere.

Ten Fidy!

Guest blog! My friend’s first beer. Ever.

April 9, 2010

I was a little surprised when I got this text from my old bandmate Roi: “I want to try beer.” Roi will give you a little background below, but he had never tried beer before, and was looking to me for advice. Needless to say, I was honored to serve as an initial guide to the beverage I love.

The most exciting thing about this as a beer lover is that I have never encountered anyone with such a unique palate. I’ve introduced people to their first non-American-macrobrew before, but never their first actual beer. Also, Roi is a chef. (A very good Vegan chef, whose cooking I miss very much.) So not only does he have a clean and open mind, but I know he’s able to taste and appreciate subtle and complex flavors, probably even better than me. But would this apply to beer as well?

Hopefully I can get Roi to write me something else later in his tasting journey.

-b

My name is Roi Elam, I am 33 years old, and up until Monday March 29th 2010 I had never tried beer.

There are many reasons for this. Mostly it was my upbringing in the Southern Baptist Church and the belief that any kind of alcohol was not acceptable. I don’t blame my parents for that, but it’s something I have held on to forever. My second reason was all the “bro” concertgoers I have encountered in my many years of being a professional musician who were drunk, sexist, and obnoxious. These people did not paint a picture of who I wanted to be. I had never claimed to be “Straight Edge”. This is a wonderful concept, but other than being Vegan I really didn’t feel the need to put a label on myself.

About a week ago, I was reading my good friend Brian Miller’s Beer Student blog and it all came together for me. It’s not about getting plastered for the sake of getting plastered. Beer is actually something that can taste good and be an exciting experience for a newcomer like myself. I mean, for God’s sake, I drink Kombucha on a regular basis, which is tea made from a fermented mushroom! After giving this all a little thought I sent a text over to Brain and we discussed a good place for me to start. For anyone that knows me, when I make a decision to do something, it all happens rather quickly. As an example: after 6 years of growing beautiful dreadlocks, I decided to cut them off. The decision came one day and the next they were gone. The same thing happened here.

So far I have had two beers and I liked them both.

My first ever was a Blue Moon. After our text discussion, Brian and I felt this was a good place to start. [Cheap, readily available, easy on the palate.] I went to the local grocery store and bought a 22oz bottle with the thought that I would rather only dump out one if I hated it as opposed to buying a 6 pack and wasting a larger amount. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect as far a flavor, feel, or even consistency. With my first sip I was quite surprised…I actually liked it! Blue Moon is a wheat beer and that is what it tasted like. I would describe it like drinking a sweet bread flavored soda. I didn’t end up finishing the whole bottle. 22 ounces is a little too much for the first sitting considering I never drink that much of anything at once – not even coffee.

My second beer was a Rouge Dry Hopped St. Rouge Red Ale. I currently live in Oregon and believe in supporting local business as much as possible, so Rouge was a no-brainer. I was smarter this time and went to the local natural foods store that sells the 12 oz bottles individually – always thinking. I would have to say I liked this better than the Blue Moon. It was smooth and I finished it off rather easily. It had a bitter taste to it, but at the same time it was very pleasing. I tried it with my lunch – a Vegan TVP loaf sandwich – and it went along very well.  I definitely will have another one of these in the near future.

Where do I go next? Who knows? I will just try things and see if I like them. In my fridge now is a Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale that I will try tomorrow. I figure one a day, or every other day, is a good pace.

It turns out that all of my preconceived notions about drinking beer were very naïve and quite honestly, childish. I am still not on a quest to get drunk; that will never be an intention of mine, and I don’t believe it ever will be. I am just realizing that it’s time to branch out and try new things, try to live a little more and not continue to put walls up for no apparent reason. It may seem silly to some, but for me, it’s a big step in a new direction.

For more about Roi, follow him on Twitter at @veganroi and check out his band The Material.

Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager

March 23, 2010

Brewery: Rogue Ales
Beer:
Dirtoir, 22 oz. bottle
Style:
Black Lager
POP:
Binny’s Beverage Depot, Lakeview, Chicago
Price:
$6.49

Aah, I remember my first spring break. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A gaudy strip of South Beach wannabe clubs that would make you wait in line and charge you $20 cover if you were under 21. Meanwhile, my older counterparts were already inside collecting a table full of $2 watered down margaritas in plastic cups. (Note to trashy clubs: we still drank them. Bite me.) But during the day at the hotel pool, the Busch Light flowed like water. I remember being fascinated (as a wide-eyed college freshman) that my three buddies managed to fit 96 beers into a small apartment-sized refrigerator. Even more fascinating was the fact that they were gone by Wednesday of that week.

Well, here I am, in chilly Chicago, pushing 30, but still on spring break – grad school style. (I should also note here that I pulled a 4.0 this quarter. Booya.) But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to celebrate with a beer.

Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager is part of Rogue’s GYO (Grow Your Own) series featuring hops and barley grown by the Rogue Ales folks themselves in Oregon. Everything is local, and of course in the spirit of Rogue’s fine beers, natural and preservative free.

Yeah, I don't have my beard any more. Poured into my Stone tulip glass, Rogue’s Dirtoir is an inky black with a strong brown head that lingers for a while before leaving a tiny bit of brown lacing on the glass and around the top. The smell is thick, slightly hoppy, almost like an imperial stout. Which is what this beer looks like. Based on appearance and nose alone, I would have guessed this to actually be an imperial stout. The first sip distinguishes it otherwise. It’s strangely…refreshing. Beautiful hop aromas dominate as I’m taking bigger sips. The lighter body fits this perfectly. As it warms, it takes on more of a stout’s maltiness, but still retains the smooth refreshing lager feel of the initial pour. At only 6% ABV, this is a bold beer that’s very sessionable. Phenomenal.

Final verdict: I will buy it whenever I see it.

Revolution Brewing Company – Chicago

March 22, 2010

Brewery: Revolution Brewing Company
Beer:
Sampler flight / various
Style:
various
POP:
Revolution Brewing Company, Logan Square, Chicago
Price:
$2-3 per sampler, $5-6 per pint

This is a long-overdue blog, that’s for sure. A couple weeks ago (and a couple weeks after their initial opening), I paid a visit to Chicago’s newest brewery and Logan Square hotspot, Revolution Brewing Company. Hearing stories about extended wait times for a table or a spot at the bar, I opted to take advantage of my odd student schedule and pop in on a Wednesday afternoon for a late lunch. Luckily, I found a mostly quiet restaurant where I could saddle up to the bar and spread my notes and books out among a few sampler glasses of beer. They had already run out of the Iron Fist Pale Ale and the Anti-Hero IPA, so these were the house offerings on this particular afternoon.

Cross of Gold Golden Ale
Not a bad start. A decent crisp bite up front with a respectable portion of hops. It’s got kind of a lager-y finish to it, almost sour. Not bad for the style.

Bottom Up Wit
I’m not big into witbiers, but this one is my favorite that Revolution had to offer on my first trip. The ultra-citrusy nose precedes even more citrus in the taste, to the point that it feels like there’s fruit sliced right in there. Grapefruit and orange are the strongest flavors that come out. Good bit of wheat flavor as well. Nicely done.

Workingman’s Mild
Out of a standard tap, it’s got a good feel, really malty, but hardly any taste in the finish. Seeing me taking notes, the kind bartender offered up a sampler of the Workingman’s Mild out of the cask, which was much better. The cask smoothes the feel even more and somehow rectifies the lack of finish. I’d order it again on cask.

Willie Wee Heavy
For a wee heavy, there’s not a whole lot of sweetness going on. The taste is intriguing; it’s malt-heavy and carries an oaky flavor reminiscent of some bourbon-barrel aged beers. The oak taste lingers on the tongue long after. Not bad at all, although very different from most wee heavies I’ve tasted.

Eugene Porter
Deep brown with a really thin tan head, the smell is the best part: rich and smoky. By this point I had let it warm a good bit, hoping to bring the flavors out. The deep smokiness, however, is overshadowed by the fact that this beer feels way too thin.


The second time I visited Revolution was a weekday evening, complete with a long-ish wait for a table, but allowing me to experience the atmosphere – and a full pint – firsthand.

Iron Fist Pale Ale
This time around, I was able to secure a pint of their flagship Iron Fist Pale Ale. Iron Fist definitely speaks to the style, crisp and hoppy with some decent malt characteristics too. Nothing completely outrageous or differentiating from other pale ales, but a very solid offering I’d order again.

On to the food. Look. If they’re served with ketchup and there are no Belgians on tap, they’re not called ‘frites’. They’re fries.

I’ve tried two main entrees here: the tempeh reuben and margherita pizza. Neither was impressive, but I’ll save the details for a Yelp review. I’ll likely keep trying, but they’ve got work to do on the cuisine.

As for an overall impression on the beer: it’s a good start. They’re not there yet, I can say that confidently. But with a humongous following and lots of buzz, at least they should be doing okay financially. I’m interested to experience more of their beers, and they’ve been doing a great job at cranking out new styles. The beer menu today is different than it was last week, which was different from the first week I went in. Their guest taps rotate frequently as well and are equally impressive and varied in style.

La Chouffe Golden Ale

March 11, 2010

Brewery: Brasserie D’Achouffe
Beer:
La Chouffe, 750ml bottle
Style:
Belgian Golden Ale
POP:
Trader Joe’s, Lakeview, Chicago
Price:
$9.99

One. Pour that beer in a glass.

So after a lively (not very) afternoon of watching college basketball, I decided it was 5 o’clock somewhere and popped open this green bottle with a goofy gnome on it. Nah, it’s nothing random, I meant to buy this, and I’ve had stuff from D’Achouffe before. It’s just fun to say “green gnome bottle.” Go ahead. Try it.

Two. Drink that beer from a glass.

Poured into my Dogfish Head globe, it’s a hazy straw color with a pretty lively white head that takes a bit to settle down. Unlike quite a few Belgian golden ales I’ve had, the smell on this one is dry, almost champagne-like, and heavy with spices. The taste is about the same, well spiced, which is surprising considering its light golden color. I’m not crazy about the mouthfeel on this; the carbonation seems a bit too lively. But it’s not bad. The taste is spot on, spicy all around: front, middle, and finish. I did get a hint of funky aftertaste, kinda similar to what I get with Duvel, another popular beer that I just don’t always see eye to eye with. It’s not a bad aftertaste, so to speak. Just something that isn’t tops on my palate.

Final verdict: I could take it or leave it.

Guest blog! Dogfish Head World Wide Stout and news on the Stone/Dogfish/Victory collaboration

March 8, 2010

I’m starting to like this guest blogging thing. It keeps the content a-flowin’, and I have time to write papers for class. When I asked Amy T. Granite if she wanted to write a guest piece for The Beer Student, the natural topic was the meeting of the minds (Stone, Dogfish Head, Victory) that took place at Stone Brewing Company in San Diego this past week.

Take it away, Ms. Granite.

Brewery: Dogfish Head
Beer:
World Wide Stout, on draft
Style:
Imperial Stout
POP:
Stone World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido, California
Price:
$6-ish, 10 oz. snifter

I’m a sucker for two things, really: craft beer, and hot dudes. Needless to say, I’m quite fond of the Beer Student, and so when he asked me to guest blog on account of two wild nights in America’s Finest Beer City (my hometown, San Diego), I obliged. After all, kicking it with three of most talented craft brewers in the world is boast-worthy, no?

Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA (San Diego County) has facilitated some mean collaborations in recent history, and they’re at it again, this time with Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales and Victory Brewing Company. The trio of brewers (Greg Koch, Sam Calagione and Bill Covaleski, respectively) gathered at Stone HQ to concoct their mash up, a Belgian style ale brewed with parsley, rosemary and thyme due out this April. For those of you in Chicago, you’ll soon have a good chance to drink it for yourself!

The fun started Tuesday at Neighborhood Ale House in San Diego’s East Village. Greg brought the following day’s event to Stone World Bistro and Gardens, which sounded just lovely. The boys were going to play all day in the garden picking and sniffing herbs, and then spend the night mingling with friends and fans. I imagine beer was brewed at some point, too.

When I arrived that night at Stone’s grotto, the dudes were all holding three separate beer courts, breaking conversation for group toasts, and a fun photo-booth that everyone seemed to be enjoying. The tap list for the night was super, with several selections of each brewery’s beers. At one point, Sam asked one pretty lady what she was drinking, and when she replied ‘it’s your World Wide Stout!’ he asked for a sip, and then took another sip before stopping himself. ‘I’m going to drink all this! I’ll go get my own.’

Bill from Victory, Sam from Dogfish, Amy, and Greg from Stone

He came back with the 10 oz. snifter, and took a gulp. Then another, and one more to finish off the dark and silky elixir. ‘I really like to drink this beer as a shot,’ he said. With something as big and bold as an 18% Imperial stout, I was surprised at his preference. I decided to get my own and judge.

The dark as night stout has minimal head, and light, small bubbles of carbonation running the sides of the glass; it’s nose, a sharp, alcoholy blast of dark fruits made me think of juicy purple grapes and rich black cherries. I expected a far more offensive first sip, but was warmly welcomed by smooth, chocolatey, decadent beer. Perhaps my only qualm with WWS is its sweetness; recalling its syrupy mouthfeel, I imagine a reduction with currants and cherries, poured over pancakes would be an other-worldly breakfast item. WWS’s finish is hot, but not as harsh as its (seeming) barrel aged nose implies.

I understood why Sam prefers to drink his WWS as a three gulp ‘shot.’ Typically, I enjoy my big beers most when they’ve warmed up a bit, especially of the Russian Imperial stout/porter category. But, as I neared my last sips of WWS, the room temperature beer was just too sweet for my tastes.

A definite special occasion libation, World Wide Stout is a must-drink for craft beer junkies. We seem to be in the midst of a trend, or rather a shoving match between craft brewers to produce the burliest ABV monster beers possible; while WWS’s 18% is no joke, it isn’t detrimental to this excellent beer. Complex, approachable, and even sweeter sipped (or shot) with Mr. Dogfish himself.