Be still my beating heart, I think I’m in love.
Not to be held against The Missus, but I’ve taken up a brief tryst with someone else who has captured my attention. Westbrook Brewing, which gave me liquid bliss of a Citra Rye pale ale and amazing farmhouse saison, has hit an absolute home run with Mini Growler imperial stout, a collaboration with Evil Twin. It’s got a 90 on Beer Advocate.
This brew is nothing short of impressive.
What started as a distinctive smoked malt character – nearly bacon-like, I dare say – quickly gave way to classic stout smells the cascaded into my nostrils – vanilla, chocolate and cream. It was almost like sticking my nose into an iced mocha without the sugary sweetness.
All these aromas combined in a mixture of cake ingredients that simply made me want to leave my nose perched on the side of my glass. Luckily, there was some decent booze bite hiding at the end of each sniff to push it away – the beer carries 12 percent ABV – and it came off as something akin to honey bourbon without the blinding boozy heat.
While smoked malt was front-and-center on my nose, I could only pick up a hint of that in the flavor of Mini Growler, which had a velvety-smooth mouthfeel and a boozy finish. I’d be interested to see how this might taste after aging to let the heat die down a little. It’s easy to find plenty of chocolate and if you let it sit on your tongue long enough, some mild, dark roasted coffee flavors.
By the time I finished the bottle, the alcohol bite had wavered considerably, either by my sheer tolerance at that point or thanks to increasingly sweet flavors of sugar and chocolate. I swear my last few sips tasted like s’mores.
Westbrook Brewing – someone to watch out for.
Mini Growler stats: N/A