Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wisco Black

Let’s dig into a couple of black beers from badgerland...

Door County Brewing’s Silurian Stout
Nice to see a new stout come out that’s not prefixed by the words Bourbon Barrel or Imperial. This is a basic milk stout, a sub-style of stout brewed with an addition of lactose, an unfermentable milk sugar. Milk stouts first came into being in England in the early 1900s. A century later, Door County Brewing has churned out a great one.

The beer pours black with a tan cap of sticky foam. The aroma reminded me of fresh coffee that’s had a good dollop of cream and spoonful of sugar stirred into it. That coffee note along with threads of roasted barley and baker’s chocolate were the first flavors that hit me. The sharp edges of the roast and coffee flavors get rounded off by the creamy sweetness of lactose making for a beer that’s flavorful and highly quaffable. There’s an earthy bitterness in the finish that completes the beer wonderfully.

I’m into this one. In fact, I’ve yet to have a beer from this brewery that didn’t impress me. Silurian Stout is 5.7% ABV and available in 6-packs at Ski’s in Oshkosh for $9.99.

By the way, Danny McMahon, head brewer at Door County Brewing, will be in Oshkosh on Saturday afternoon at Dublin’s. He’s bringing with him a cask of IPA that they’ll tap into right around 3 p.m. Look for more on that later today at the Oshkosh Independent.

3 Sheeps Nimble Lips Noble Tongue Volume Six
Damn, that’s a mouthful of a name. The subtitle is even worse: Imperial Black Wheat Coffee Ale Infused with Cocoa Nibs, Coffee, Vanilla and Maple Wood Staves. How’s a geek supposed to remember all that? Mercy. Anyway here’s another small Wisconsin brewery that’s bent to impress. This beer here will certainly turn your head.

This is flat out a dessert beer. As required, it’s black with a pillow of brown foam sitting like frosting on top. You know what you’re in for when you smell it. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel. All of that comes walloping through in the taste along with a slight roastiness and a little something herbal (from the hops, I suppose) lingering in the background. This is a big beer – 10% ABV – and you get some warmth from the alcohol in the same way you get it from a rum cake or a boozy brownie. It reminded me of a fortified milk shake (a shake with a shot of brandy or something in it). For all of its sweetness, though, the beer remains drinkable with a medium body that keeps the experience from getting too sticky. This would be a great capper after a plate load of something spicy.

Nimble Lips Noble Tongue Volume Six is available at Gardina’s in the packaged beer section where it’s sold in bombers for $8.99. Speaking of Gardina’s, look for changes there coming to the retail side. This is going to be good news for beer lovers. More on that next week. Salud!

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