What makes a good beer? Is it the simple joy and skill needed to take a basic simple recipe into a quality beer? Or is it the creativity and skill it takes to craft a recipe that produces a beer of almost infinite complexity?
In the context of this week, do you want a good dry stout or do you want an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels brewed with cocoa nibs and what not? I want both. It just depends on the context. Every beer has a time and a place where it fits.
If I’m going to have a few beers with friends at a bar, a sessionable beer like a dry stout is welcome. I can have a few of them, not get trashed, but still have a great beery time. On the other hand, sitting around at home with either a good friend or a good book (two not too dissimilar things) a big complex imperial in a snifter is a great time.
One such complex stout is the Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout. This is the third year of w00tstout and this year’s version is not only bourbon-barrel aged but it is also blended with some of last year’s edition.
This beer pours a brown that is virtually black. It forms a nice mousse like creamy tan head with great retention. The aroma is where the fun begins. I experienced a lot of cocoa and coffee. There were also touches of dark fruit, vanilla, and hints of bourbon.
On the taste, you get a subtle but noticeable touch of alcohol on the back of the tongue. The initial taste is a lot of cocoa and coffee plus vanilla and touches of bourbon. This is a beer that coats your mouth with a nice creaminess and warms you all the way down.
You will want to take your time drinking w00tstout. This is the kind of beer made to sip while you’re sitting around with a friend or two when you have no place you would rather be.
I guess because of Wil Wheaton’s involvement, here is some They Might Be Giants for your listening pleasure.