I keep a huge Excel file with all my reviews. I like to see our scoring breakdown of different styles of beer and how each of us come to our conclusions about the beer we taste. It is also of note that we don’t write review about everything we taste, as this is a blog trying to promote Virginia Beer, not register complaints and knock down the industry. Now it doesn’t mean we can’t be critical and objective, but beers we find good in the Commonwealth that we want other people to try are up front.
Well, I also see patterns. My 2 distinguishing traits these past few months have been (1) I’ve reviewed a lot of stouts and (2) there hasn’t been one that I have not really enjoyed. I see it as a product that Virginia breweries are healthier and producing more quality beer. This next beer fall into the example of a long standing craft brewery honing their skills on an emerging beer category.
Little Red RooStarr, Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, VA)
Coffee Cream/Milk Stout, ABV: 5.8%
Presentation: 12 oz bottle pour into pint glass.
Appearance: Very dark brown almost black, with dark brown head that sits one finger for a short time.
Smell: Coffee heavy balance with the cream/milk. Reminds me of a strong cafe drink. Chocolate/dark malts poke through as well.
Taste: You can use any or all of these traits to describe this beer. (1) Coffee (2) sweet milk (3) caramel (4) chocolate. It is a well blended smorgasbord that can change from taste to taste and as it warms up. You would not be wrong in any case.
ABV/IBU Feel: Milk Stouts are lighter in ABVs and at 5.8%, it is very approachable and smooth, and they are slightly heavier beers. The sweetness covers up most of the bitter coffee taste. IBUs, yet again, not apparent.
Overall: It is hard to start talking about milk stouts without calling to some of the rest of the country’s more marketable ones. While alone this is a great beer and the addition of the local coffee blended very well that makes this a true central Virginia beer, my curiosity is only heightened about what this would taste like on a nitro tap. This should not diminish your appreciation of this beer as presented, and should be enjoyed before the season is over.