With a policy of (almost) never reviewing a beer on the first pour, I spent this past Spring scouring shelves and draught lists for new and unique brews at the near total exclusion of old favorites. When the time came, I picked up a number of bottles, cans, and growlers to help me with either packing or to make the move itself. After all, just because I’m stuck in Kansas doesn’t mean I can’t drink VA beer! Househunting out in KS allowed me to explore the kinds of flavors I would find in the local craft beer (lots of IPAs, Ambers, and a big focus on German styles) as well as what would be lacking. One thing I knew would be in short supply was “big beers” – Stouts, Porters, Imperials, and so on. As winter winds up, look forward to lots of beers like this one coming to you from out past the Missouri River!
Woody Stout, Lost Rhino Brewing Co. (Ashburn, VA)
Bourbon Barrel Stout, 6.8% ABV, 30 IBU
Presentation: Can pour into pint glass.
Appearance: Dark black with velvety brown tinging the top of the pour. Mild, soft head dissipating rapidly with no lattice.
Taste: The nose presents a little coffee and almost candied black cherries. It’s not really your typical Bourbon Stout, which can be really silky and all but soak you in peat and the ABV. The coffee and even a bit of cacao forms the backbone of the Woody, and the finish presents a little sweetness that lends itself to a bit of vanilla bean. Plus the cherries, it’s very much as advertised. There’s a lot of nice balance among the flavors, and each gets it turn if you’re willing to be patient with the beer.
Mouth Feel: The coffee flavors leave the biggest impression, along with a little acidity in the middle of the tongue. It’s otherwise a smooth beer that should preserve the taste buds of all but the most novice beer drinkers. Just remember that this paired with a medium-high ABV may lead to a total disdain for authority…
Overall: With such a dark label I almost missed the Woody while scanning through the aisles for new VA beer. Even during the Winter Warmer season, a lot of labels trend big and bright, and those bombers take up a lot more space than a little 12 oz. aluminum can. I was very glad I found that original can, as this is an excellent beer to help wind down a rough day. Smooth and soothing, but also packed full of flavor. It easily made my list of migratory beers because nothing I sampled on previous visits to the Kansas City area boasted anything resembling the Woody Stout. We tend to forget that even though VA is a “young” beer state compared to others, we have some strong legacies and a few breweries who have really captured the esprit d’bier. Props to Lost Rhino for yet another beer which deserves export status.