Black Hawk Stout

Black Hawk Stout

Mendocino Brewing Company, Saratoga Springs, NY

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Information: (Site)Retains the big traditional flavors of an Irish-style stout and yet offers a refreshing dry crispness that is rare in many dark beers. “Bottle Conditioned” Black Hawk Stout is replete with a rich, roasted malt flavor that makes this not-so-heavy stout, creamy and ever so smooth. It has a subtlety that surprises and converts even the most reticent stout drinker.

Deep within the recesses of my World Market ‘Winter Brew’ 9-pack, I discover a beer from a brewer I have not heard of before now: Mendocino Brewing Company’s Black Hawk Stout. Lucky me (as you all know by now) as I am quite the lover of dark, black beers. And s it begins…

Boy, even with the initial pour -which can occasionally offer up few clues- the deep richness of the malt aroma explodes to the nose! Such a lustrous bouquet! I love Stouts and the amazing scents that come with them, and this one is absolutely no different. Chocolaty, hints of bitters, and a well-rounded mocha-like nose.

Wow. Rare are the times when a Stout disappoints, and this follows the rule of thumb to the letter. It’s pure Stout familiarity is not lost in this brewer’s translation, and that is nice. It’s a subtle difference that edges it just to the left of norm, and that’s the variation that stands out to me. Where many Stouts rely on a wicked caramelized sweetness (see: Lion Stout), this one has a far more intense malt characteristic that isn’t too bogged down by sugars. Now don’t get me wrong: Lion is by far one of my favorite Stouts, but this one is differently calm. Dark and rich, full of flavor with just a tinge of bitter hops, this is a fine Stout even for those who are certain they’ve tried it all. I would certainly pair this with salmon, or even venison. Take it with you hunting! Wait, is there a law against that?

Rating: * * * *
Creamy and rich, but unlike other Stouts with a far milder sweetness. Excellent.