Beers you must try: South Shore Brewery Bourbon Barrel Coffee Mint StoutPosted: January 1, 2013
Mint in a beer. I know, right?
I had this for the first time in 2007 at the Autumn Brew Review in Northeast Minneapolis. They served up 2 oz. sample glasses, but that was enough for it to floor me. Not sold in MN, more’s the pity, so I’m on the lookout for it on my occasional pilgrimages to The Land Of Beer And Cheese. (South Shore Brewery is in Ashland, Wisconsin, way up on Lake Superior.)
Pours into the glass dark and rich, with a substantial mocha-colored head. The beer smells like a grasshopper pie, if you remember those. This is a sweet London stout, not a Guinness-style Irish stout, so the flavors meld together nicely. This beer is like jazz. Coffee, bourbon, oak, mint, vanilla, and chocolate are all there but none overpowers the rest: they each take their solo turn, and then fade back into the ensemble.
To be fair, though, it was so much smoother on tap than out of the bottle. Close, though, mighty close.
The taste is a fudgy chocolate, prevalent but not intense, and notes of vanilla sneak in too. The mint seems to fade in and out as it crosses the palate.
In fact, the entire beer seems to be about hinting at power but holding it in reserve. There is no single flavor that overwhelms, but the combined taste is a strong one. Surprisingly, there is very little aftertaste other than that astonishing mint that turns out to be an ingredient that the majority of brewers have overlooked.
All in all, it’s almost like having a nice chocolate stout after having had a good mint julep.
Brilliantly confusing beer.
I like being brilliantly confused, so that works for me.
This is a one-of-a-kind beer. It’s a seasonal offering, only sold through January, so if you’re in Wisconsin snap some up.