I may have a reputation as beer snob, but that is not the case. I’m just a regular guy from the crummy south suburbs and I am proud to present to you: Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner – the review. The re-introduced Stroh’s, brewed by The Stroh Brewing Company (a.k.a. Brew Detroit), Detroit, MI. It’s got that typical sweet bouquet of an American adjunct lager. Light to medium gold, Stroh’s has a thin white head and some OK lacing. It tastes sweet initially, but it doesn’t take long for the bitterness makes its presence known. Not overpowering, but definitely there. The bouquet has a touch of rust. I don’t remember exactly how the original, or more accurately, the 1980s version of Stroh’s tasted, but I’d say this is probably richer and more flavorful than the original. It’s reminds me of the reformulated Schlitz. Tastier than Old Style or Miller High Life. I like it.
Hop Butcher (Chicago, IL) makes some pretty wonderful beers, and the Dan Grzeca label art makes each one that much better. Milkstachio (6.0% ABV) is a milk stout brewed with cacao nibs and supplemented with natural pistachio flavor. It’s deep, deep brown but it pours like its just deep brown. Milkstachio sports a luscious chocolate milk-colored head. Whiffs of chocolate and vanilla in equal amounts greet the nose, with just a hint of earthiness. Smooth-bodied with a full mouthfeel, not heavy and not thick, Milkstachio is an absolute pleasure. Cocoa flavor, mild sweetness and a touch of hop dryness are all present, but not overly assertive. Well-balanced and well-crafted, Milkstacho makes a nice dessert beer, but hell, have one for breakfast, it’ll be just as tasty.
Barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia Aless, Battle Creek, MI is a black beauty that smells and tastes as lovely as it looks. It’s not as thick as you would think based on color, but by not being too heavy and substantial it becomes more drinker-friendly. The head is fleeting and the lacing is slight, but don’t let it get you down, the best is yet to come. There are some nice, tangy sherry notes and a prominent alcohol bite in the nose (12% ABV, 50 IBUs). Barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter is tart, sweet and has notes of chocolate, cherry and dried plum in the flavor profile, with some coffee as well. The alcohol does warm the mouth and stomach a bit, and it’s satisfying. Although it has been aged in bourbon barrels, it’s not as bourbony as some others iI’ve tried, but that allows for a good appreciation of the other tastes and smells that barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter presents.
Good stuff, Zum Voll!
I’m special to someone. He shared his bourbon-barrel aged variant of 2016 Dark Lord Russian-style Imperial Stout with me. We are now truly brothers. Dark Lord (Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN) is black motor oil that’s got a few thousand miles too many on it, with a nice bouquet of licorice, smoke and peppery Brazilian hard woods with a boozy sweetness throughout. The texture is super-smooth and the body full and inviting. Dark Lord is a real gut warmer at 15% ABV. It’s a sipper, and I think a 22 oz. bomber is good split between four people. Drink it at basement temperature so that you don’t miss any of the subtle scents and flavors. When you are finished, save the glass and take an occasional whiff. It’s still good. Excellent stuff, very rare, and chances are you’ll never get a chance to try it.
As I said, I’m special, and so is Dark Lord.
95/100 Imperial Stout
Ooh, I can smell the sweetness from two feet away as I open this can of Oktoberfest Celebration Lager from Rochester Mills Beer Company, Auburn Hills, MI. Generous carbonation keeps the 1/8 head afloat for a good long time and sticky lace foreshadows malty loveliness. The bouquet is sweet with a touch of rust and some alcohol sharpness, and at 6.2% ABV it does what I want it to do. Malty, caramel, medium-bodied and saliva thickening, Oktoberfest Celebration Lager is good stuff, and one of the perks of the season.
Named after a pneumatic drill that was notoriously dangerous for the UP miners that used it, this black ale from Keweenah Brewing Company, South Range, MI, sports a fine-beaded head that doesn’t take much drilling to get through. The lace slides gently down the glass, and a clean bouquet wafts upward. Slight coffee, subtle hop and deep black color makes for interesting contrasts in Widow Maker. It is much lighter-bodied than you think, being smooth and creamy with a mellow roasted caramel foundation. There’s even a hint of hardwood smoke. Widow Maker is an easy drinker, light and flavorful with virtually no hops presence to note. Definitely not an APA or IPA, and that’s a really pleasant change of pace. My only complaint is the terrible label art, and since the can is pour and pitch, it didn’t bother me for very long
82/100 Black Ale
Sour beers are becoming more popular these days as brewers try to one up each other with obscure ingredients, new and or/historic beer styles and with “I’m hip, are you?” attitudes, and you truly either love sour beers or hate them. I’ve tried them on a number of occasions, and I can appreciate that everyone has different taste buds and different perspectives on what a good taste or a bad taste is. I’m a dope from the south suburbs and grew up thinking Pixie Stix and Bubs Daddy was haut cuisine. Without trying to influence you one way or the other I will give you my summary of Here Goes Nothing from Destihl Brewing, Bloomington, IL. Vinegar, body odor, tart lime, sauerkraut, sour apples and salt. Spontaneous fermentation, like hot summer garbage can. Tastes like the love child of an Eryops fossil and a steaming landfill. But please, judge for yourself! If you hurry, my friend Al might not have poured the fifth can of his six pack down the slop sink yet. That’s where I got mine.
Have a great day!