I saw this beer on television as an ingredient on a cooking show a few days ago, and then I saw it at the store. I bought it. I AM A SLAVE TO NON-AGGRESSIVE ADVERTISING.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the label wasn’t much help.
The pour was smooth and easy, and there was a finger-thick beige head on a brown-almost-black body. The head dissipated after a couple minutes, but the edge of the surface kept a sticky lacing attached to the glass after each sip, and the bubbles on the very top never seemed to go away, like the sticky matter you find on the surface of some very still water (but much more appetizing).
From that point on, this beer was nothing like any beer I have ever had before. Ever.
The nose of this beer was difficult to describe. I literally carried it to Ann, sniffing the whole way, and said, “Help me here.”
We came up with a few terms we agreed upon. Earthy. Mossy. Peaty.
Then came the tasting. Ann was, frankly, kind of repulsed by it. I was more puzzled. I couldn’t really describe it as malty or hoppy; there were no flavors that I could easily recognize. I ransacked my brain — was it nutty? Meaty? Spicy? Woody?
None of the above.
Finally, it hit me. The taste of this beer? It’s the aftertaste that you get when you drink a hoppy beer, but without the dryness and with only some of the bitterness. It’s a shadow of an aftertaste of a different beer. That’s not to say that it’s a weak-tasting beer; some shadows can break your vision, and the shadow of a flavor can blot out your palate.
The aftertaste of the beer? Smoke. And not like mesquite smoke or campfire smoke, but cigarette smoke.
One note to anyone who is thinking of trying this beer (not that I think I gave it a review that’s going to make you rush out to buy it)… don’t slosh it around in your mouth. It foams up with a different flavor that’s half-sweet, half-soapy. Despite what I’ve said above, I didn’t dislike this beer — I just won’t bother to buy it again. But sloshing it? That makes it truly unpleasant.