As we have just taken down all of our decorations and stowed the trees for another year, it’s time for me to dig through my tasting notes from various celebrations to see what made the ‘nice’ list. This one was a no brainier. If you look at the tag, it was bottled the day it came out, given to me the next day, and consumed from Christmas to New Years. I’m sure I have reviewed fresher, but I can’t remember off the top of my head. And the taste was just what you needed during this excruciatingly cold weather in The Commonwealth.
Against the Wall (Contra El Muro), Coelancanth Brewing Company (Norfolk, VA)
Oatmeal Stout, ABV: 6.7%, IBU: N/A
Presentation: Tiny growler pour into pint glass. Could go tulep if desired, but opening this one up paid dividends.
Appearance: Black and dark, tan to medium brownish head that sits one finger high and takes a little time and encouragement to dissipate.
Aroma: Roasted malts give that chocolate/toffee like aroma. Muted grainy and peppery aroma tries to push through a dense head.
Taste: Very well balanced oatmeal stout that is very smooth and drinkable. Malts up front with a solid middle mellow chocolate, with a spicy pepper (not so much a peppery ‘green/earthy’ pepper) pushing lightly in middle back to the end.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: Balance is on point, with a medium body and slightly dry on the finish. Very little ABV apparent and the malts and the peppers mute out any notion of sharpness. IBU non-existent.
Overall: As just an Oatmeal Stout alone, this is a legit great beer. It is dangerously drinkable. The slight kick at the end is nice but not as heavy as most ‘spiced’ stouts, which should play to a broader audience. The fact that the proceeds from this beer goes to Operation Smile is reason enough to get some, but I wanted to gush about it first, cause it should be consumed on merit. South Hampton Roads distribution, and cross your fingers there is still some at the brewery.