My friend Robert (seen in the background here) and I were still hanging out at The Gingerman in Austin, TX, getting ready for the beginning of SXSW. We had both met Beverly the week before at the iMedia Brand Summit, who was also sticking around in town for SXSW. She joined us for a drink. Unfortunately, she’s not much of a beer person, and ordered a glass of wine. As you can imagine, the wine at a beer bar doesn’t see much action, and her wine was bad. After a snafu with the waitress and trying different drinks, Beverly had a conversation with the manager. He felt bad and brought us a round of drinks. For me, I simply asked him to bring me the best beer geek beer he had on tap, and this is what he brought.
Numbers: 9.5% ABV
Appearance & Aroma: It was completely black, and even when held up to the light, almost nothing got through. There was a very, very solid, creamy tan head on it, and the aroma was rich. There was a very nice chocolate and coffee, with a bit of vanilla from the oak.
Taste & Feel: The mouthfeel was very smooth and creamy, with a really big, thick body. The complex mix of flavors hits the palate right away, with a mix of dark caramel and chocolate up front with hints of vanilla. The flavor changes to a bit more dark chocolate and coffee, finishing with a slight coffee-like bitterness and an alcohol warmth as it goes down.
Food Pairing: I’m not sure I’d pair this with food, as it was a meal and dessert all by itself. Tremendously flavorful with lots of chocolate and coffee flavors, it might send a rich chocolate cake or fudge dessert completely over the top.
Overall Impression: This beer was tremendously smooth and flavorful with a complex mixture of caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. It was like enjoying a rich dessert, except, the more I sipped it, the more I craved another sip. Overall, I thought this was an incredible beer, and it was a great way to end the evening. I’m definitely going to have to pick up a bottle of this when I get home.