With temperatures in the dear God, why have you forsaken us range, I’ve been desperately seeking the malty comfort of some rich, dark brews that will warm the bones and make me forget that I could die of exposure going to take the recyclables out. If your tastes are like mine, then you know the delicious warmth of a good porter or stout is exactly what is called for. I carefully parsed through the endless IPAs and found a pair of brews that should hit the spot just right.
The first is Black Hog Coffee Milk Stout, because if I ever pass up a coffee stout, then you’ll know I’ve been replaced by a replica and you can take appropriate measures to “retire” it. A “sweet stout enriched with cold brew Toddy-extracted Organic Columbia’s Supremo and Espresso Roasted Coffee.” Without the pretentiousness, that means it has coffee in it, and it’s of a fairly fine quality. Well, I’ll be the judge of that.
The black-as-night opaque pour and chocolate-colored foam are promising. The aroma is surprisingly mild, but one definitely senses the coffee and roasted stout mingling, you know, assuming your sinuses are clear. It is that time of year.
The first sip fulfills the promise of sweet and savory, and the next sip brings that nice warming coffee feeling even when chilled. It has a subtle complexity, with the sweet flavors landing first and the roasty goodness coming in on the finish. The best part is that this beer isn’t your typical coffee stout when it comes to the ABV. At a mild 5.5%, this tasty beverage won’t knock you down before you can stand up. I really like this beer, even if it tries a little too hard to make its organic, free-range, non-GMO, grass-fed, farm-fresh, cruelty-free, deficit-neutral, grande, supremo, kosher, fat-free, no-beans-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-this-beer description trendy enough to be search-engine optimized.
I kid. I think any brewery calling itself Black Hog is fundamentally incapable of being too hippy crunchy Whole Foods granola. Besides, this beer is an absolutely solid coffee stout. The lactose is mild, adding only just the right touch of essential sweetness to balance the coffee and stout. That being said, if you ARE hippy crunchy Whole Foods granola yourself, this beer is beautifully complex enough to satisfy even the most discerning of palates. So enjoy, and try to keep the warmth in your extremities. Remember, February is usually colder than January, and if that holds true, then you can find me rushing to warmer climates by Groundhog Day. I hear Siberia is more comfortable this time of year, and bonus, Russian imperial stouts!