May 12th to May 19th, 2012

This week, I have mostly been drinking….

…dark, flavoured beers!

The Canadian and I went to BevMo, which is a fun store full of tempting choices and bought two vanilla flavoured dark beers and later, a mocha stout. Then I also picked up a chocolate stout from Trader Joe’s, one of the local/ethical/organic-type grocery store chains beloved of Californians. Our basic idea is to buy two or three themed beers every week and compare them side-by-side to see which we prefer and to further our beery education and palate. Now that we’re in the US we’ve also decided to try them cold first and then see how they change as they warm up… more on that in another post! Without further ado, the beers I’ve drunk are:

Knee Deep Brewing Co; Tanilla Porter; ABV = 6.3%; IBU = 30review from beer advocate

Abita; 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog; ABV = 7.5%review from beer advocate

Boatswain; Chocolate Stout; ABV = 5.4%; IBU = 66; review from beer advocate

Rogue; Mocha Porter; IBU = 54; review from beer advocate

Anyone who has drunk with me knows how much I love my dark beers, particularly a good porter, so I was really excited to try these. However, I have to say that overall the experience was… underwhelming. In general, the beers are over-carbonated, which gives an acidic and harsh mouth-feel that dominates the experience when drinking the beer cold. I have come to expect this since moving to the US last September and in some styles of beer it works quite well… but not in a porter or stout please! I was looking for a warm, velvety hug in a glass. The closest to this was the Tanilla Porter, which was silky but too thin. The vanilla sweetness did come through though. The chocolate stout was also quite pleasant to drink when warm and at $1.99 its short-comings were acceptable! Probably the biggest disappointment to me was the Rogue Mocha Porter – it just ain’t no Dark Star Espresso Stout (now that’s a breakfast beer!) or Mill Street Coffee Porter. I haven’t given up on Rogue though and am excited to hunt down their San Francisco pub to give their beers a fairer trial. I’m particularly excited by the 1-star review it got from someone on Google who said the bathrooms were dirty, the table service was slow and that the beers were warm and flat – sounds perfect! Anyone want to join me?!

I have also drunk…

Grand Teton Brewing Co; Bitch Creek ESB; ABV = 6.0%; IBU = 54; beer advocate

You know how you have some beers that make you relax when you walk into a new pub and in lieu of something more exciting on tap, you are always happy to fall back on? For me, this is my US version. Like many american beers it has a generous dosing of hops, including the distinctive Cascade variety. However, unlike many american beers, the malts are not neglected and result in a pleasingly mid-brown beer with nice balance. A bit hoppy for the Canadian who prefers the also highly drinkable Full Sail Amber but at $2 per (small) US pint on Tuesdays at our local it’s really difficult for me to fault. If only I could find it on tap more often…

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