I hope everyone got plenty to eat for Thanksgiving. And by plenty to eat, I mean that random bag of ham and turkey you have been pulling from late at night when no one is watching. Don’t worry, we won’t tell, but we know it is happening.
Now that we are squarely into December (and how did this month get here that fast) we are continuing our run though the Stouts. If you have read the great article by VBR editor Alex, you would know that everyone was very excited about this year’s Coffeehouse Stout from Alewerks. Well, even before that Throwdown, us down here in Hampton Roads have been trying to keep it a secret. We don’t want the well to run dry of this amazing beverage. I walked into a store today and saw one lone bottle left in a vast section where they kept their supply. Yep, everyone is getting into this, but how does it stack up with the other javas out there?
Coffeehouse Stout, Alewerks Brewing Company (Williamsburg, VA)
Milk Stout, ABV: 5.4%
Presentation: I have enjoyed this a variety of ways, but the best has always been tap pour into a tulep glass. Yes, you could borrow that Left Hand glass, but any glass with a decent body and curled top will do.
Appearance: Like a cup of joe. Dark and clearish with a decent medium brown head that will stand a little in the correct glass, but disappear quickly in a pint glass.
Smell: Coffee front with a sweetness from malt and ‘lactose’.
Taste: If this was straight coffee, you could hardly tell the difference. I would argue that half the coffees I’ve had were this good. And what makes it great is that it doesn’t taste manufactured. Some try to add the flavor later or use just any old coffee, but Alewerks really put the coffee forward to go great with the milky stoutness. Even so far as to say that the malty stout taste is only really apparent on the back end.
ABV/IBU Feel: With the ABV around 5.4, it is not very noticeable except right at the end. It drinks like a heavy malted Pilsner or Kolsch. Very light and clean. And forget about the hops. This is one beer that could achieve the balance without them.
Overall: We here at Virginia Brew Review do not like to throw around high scores, or try to favor one brewery over the other. We review what we can get our hands on. And believe it or not, not every beer everyone makes is a great beer, no matter who you are. But this is a great beer. Aroma, taste, balance, drinkability. It’s all there. Throwing this into the Milk Stout category does not do this beer justice, as there are some very, very great beers out there to compare. But the merits alone in relation to the ‘coffee’ warrants a great score and this is one you need to grab now before it is all gone.