The official brew for Seattle Beer Week 2012 . . . Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout brewed by Elysian Brewing Co. and invented by Steve Luke.
What? A stout – a beer style that is more malty than hoppy. Has hell frozen over here in the state of Washington? Up to now the official Seattle Beer Week beers have focused on hops, not malt, reflecting what seems to be the overwhelming preference for hoppy beers in this part of the country. I say “thank you!”.
Despite the fact that I live in the Pacific Northwest, my palate does not enjoy the beers I refer to as “hopped-to-hell”. Oh, the glares I receive when I say that out loud. Friends who do enjoy hops and don’t want to ostracize me because of my dislike have found a way to declare that it is not my fault. That my dislike is beyond my control. They believe that I carry the “bitter” gene making my palate extra sensitive to that particular flavor, and, therefore, can not be held responsible for spitting out hoppy beers. We remain friends.
Elysian has created a very enjoyable beverage. When poured, the glass fills with a dark liquid that is not too thin, nor too thick. The head of the beer is a gorgeous tan with decent longevity. The aromatics jump out of the glass. The first is coffee followed by cocoa, a touch of cream and familiar roast notes of a stout. Wow! After several minutes of just enjoying the wafting aromatics, I took a sip. On the palate the texture is just right, not overwhelming and the notes of coffee and cocoa are there but in a more even balance. The familiar stout flavors step up to become an equal partner with coffee and cocoa.
Speaking with a beer afficionado who does not care for espresso stouts, I discovered that he enjoyed this one because on the palate the espresso is less dominant, receding into a balanced, tasty, well-made stout.
The coffee flavor kept haunting me. While I may not enjoy hops, I do enjoy another Pacific Northwest obsession – coffee and I am a bit of a coffee aficionado. The coffee flavor was perfect – balanced, complex and slightly sweet just like a fabulous espresso shot using perfectly roasted Arabica beans pulled ristretto (short). Lighthouse Roasters provided the coffee for this Washington beer. Coming from Lighthouse, I would expect nothing less than perfection. Nice choice, Elysian!
If you enjoy espresso stouts do not miss the Elysian Split Shot Espresso Stout! If you are hesitant, try this great espresso stout anyway you might be surprised!