Well, Mac just recently returned from Ireland, his ancestral home, with a great respect for the Irish beer scene. Yes, there is much more to Irish beer than Guinness. I don’t have time to put out a newsletter right now, but I can spend a few minutes reviewing a couple of beers I recently sampled (not in Ireland). I hope you find these beer reviews helpful, and I trust they will inspire you to try something new and/or unusual. Please read responsibly.
Serpent’s Stout: The Lost Abbey Brewing, San Marcos, CA. 11.0% ABV.
Lost Abbey is the Belgian arm of Port Brewing, located in San Marcos (San Diego). Both Port and Lost Abbey consistently brew amazing beer. Serpent’s Stout is no exception.
This is a massive imperial stout. It pours black with a light cocoa colored head that is very thick and creamy with lots of staying power. The head remained on the beer for the entire session. The aroma is sweet, with very obvious hints of coffee. The flavor is sweet chocolate, raisins and dark fruit, followed by a Belgian sweetness, followed by coffee and bitterness in the aftertaste. Serpent’s Stout has a very thick, smooth mouthfeel and texture. It’s a high alcohol beer, but well hidden – not boozy or hot. This is a very good stout.
Nightmare on Gothard Street: 4 Sons Brewing, Huntington Beach, CA. 8.3% ABV.
4 Sons Brewing is a fairly new Orange County brewery (located on Gothard Street in Huntington Beach), but their beer is quite good, and I expect they will rapidly become well known. Nightmare on Gothard Street is their imperial stout.
This stout pours dark brown/black with a light beige creamy head, about 3/4″ deep, that faded quickly, but about 1/8″ of foam remained for the duration. The aroma is sweet coffee. The flavor is sweet chocolate and vanilla that transitioned to sweet, but not overwhelming, vanilla. This fades to a sweet coffee aftertaste, which then fades to a slight and pleasant bitterness. This beer has a medium to heavy mouthfeel and body. It’s not highly carbonated, but there’s enough so that no heaviness lingers on the palate. Overall, this stout is slightly sweet, but not unbalanced – well done.
I bought Nightmare on Gothard Street at Costco. It came in a 22 oz. bomber. I don’t remember the price, but it was very reasonable and well worth it. The Serpent’s Stout was fairly expensive ( it came in a 12 oz. corked bottle), but I would definitely buy it again. Nightmare on Gothard Street is a year round brew, but Serpent’s Stout is a seasonal, so it’s not readily available. Get a bottle if you find it.
So what is the bottom line for these beers? I can recommend both, but especially the Serpent’s Stout (it’s EXCELLENT). Nightmare on Gothard Street is good, but just another good imperial stout (note: 4 Sons brews an excellent IPA, “Land of Hopportunity”; try that one for sure). Serpent’s Stout is somewhat hard to find, but worth the price if you can get it. Cheers!