Well, Happy New Year's Eve all. Tomorrow starts a new year, and all that that entails. It has been a good year from a beer perspective with the craft beer industry gobbling up more and more market share. It still seems like a drop in the bucket, but I bet the big boys hear that thumping.
I want to thank you all for reading this, it has been a good thing for me to write again, and to see a hobby blossom into something just a little bit bigger. What that is yet, I am not sure, but time will tell. Until then, micro reviews of craft brews.
Narwhal Imperial Stout ABV: 10.2%
Sierra Nevada Chico, CA 12 oz bottle poured into short snifter
N - A hard licorice, currant undertone beneath the familiar coffee and roast malt notes. A touch of smokiness, and a hint of vanilla round out this pleasant aroma
T - A very mild taste with similar flavors to the nose. There is a raisin flavor that wasn't here before, and some chocolate with a bit of old leather. Not a huge fan of raisins (I don't like them at all) but it works here. It coats the palate and lingers, the woody notes of the dark malts coming forward from roasting. Wisps of hops dance at the edges, but never fully emerge as a player. Some alcohol heat; the slight burn, but not bad, more in the nose as you drink it. Very mild, and easy drinking for a big stout.
M - Very rich in flavor, but medium bodied overall, considering the style as a whole.
Special treat - The last couple of ounces, warmed from the hour in the snifter, got split evenly over a scoop of peppermint ice cream. The minty candy pieces danced like lighting bugs in the dark brew and the cream blended well with the vanilla notes from the oak, bringing them forward. A real treat, if you're into trying beer floats.
O - As mentioned, a very easy, mild stout, especially when the 10.2% ABV is there. This isn't a big, presentation 22 ounce stout, but it is one you could buy a couple 4 packs of and enjoy all winter long. Its like that favorite blanket, or often worn sweatshirt that you just know you 'll come back to again and again. And that is probably one of the best things I can say for this, from one of my favorite breweries. Sierra Nevada constantly produces beers--whether year round, or special releases--that you know you can return to again and again and constantly be welcomed; and that, my friends, is a special thing.
Happy New Year