Collaborations are good things. In beer we have had some great examples of different brewers and breweries working together to create some very interesting and special beers in the process. Last summer's Saison Du Buff from American Craft merchants Stone, Victory and Dogfish Head, the Fyne Ales and Kelly Ryan superb Fynebridge Black IPA and BrewDog/Mikkeller's, I Hardcore You all immediately spring to mind as fine examples of constructive collaboration.
In that spirit of positive partnerships, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce on the blog a guest reviewer every now and again. I'll be reciprocating by reviewing a beer or two on my fellow bloggers site. So, kicking off the first in an occasional series, I introduce to you Phil from the Beersay blog who has been sampling some of Sierra Nevada's Stout. Here's what he thought -
If you'd have asked me a few years ago about beers from the good old U S of A, I would have more than likely described them as being pretty tasteless, fizzy, mass produced or something of that ilk. Generally when I've spoken to people about American beer that's the impression I'd got and having never been there I had no point of reference to think otherwise. The only American beer I'd ever had was Budweiser. Now I still drink the odd Bud at times and enjoy it too, it has it's place and ice cold on a hot day is it, however a flavour-fest it is not..
That all changed at the Stoke On Trent beer festival a two years ago, The Mrs and Myself had gone to the Saturday night session and to be honest it was a bit of a washout. Nearly all the beers we'd fancied trying had long since gone, so we ventured up to the foreign bottled beer bar to sample what it had to offer.
As the night went on we got talking to the bar manager about his suggestions and he brought out two bottles of Goose Island IPA. Sensing our scepticism (probably from the looks he was getting back), he explained that it was in his opinion the best beer he'd sold all weekend. He was right, it was bloody gorgeous. We duly left, extra happy as he gave us the last two bottles to take home.
Since then a lot of water (and beer) has passed under the bridge and I've not really explored American beer any further, nor had I realised what a fantastic craft brewing scene they had going over the pond. So here we are back in 2011 and I'm writing a guest review for The Beer Monkey, so I thought what the hell, it seems very popular amongst other bloggists let's go for something completely different, the Sierra Nevada Stout.
Now I'm not going to waffle on about the brewers, their brewery or history, I've done enough waffling already, you can read about it at your leisure here:
So, to the beer. I opened it on a bright sunny afternoon as the photos show, out pours an inky black liquid, seems a little flat at first but quickly forms a lively creamy brown head, stout is black I know but this is BLACK.
It smells hoppier than any stout I've had before it's the main thing that fights for your attention you before you dive in. First taste gives a lively buzzing fizz on the tongue which is out of character. The taste though is wonderful, it feels very light in the mouth probably because of the high carbonation that lingers on through the glass, a little like a Budvar Dark in some ways.
But it also has a really great depth of flavours that get your taste buds buzzing, there's toasted malts, burnt caramel, really high % cocoa quality dark chocolate, a little coffee then comes the big old hoppy finish. Long after your last sip that chocolate bitterness lingers on in the mouth from teeth to tonsils. (I walked the dog straight after drinking this and a full hour later I could still taste it.)
All in all a pleasant experience and not at all what I was expecting, an American beer that is a take on British Stout which has elements of Belgian and Czech brews, a geography lesson in a glass.
Verdict: I need to do more study...