Lilja’s Sasquatch Stout
Sand Creek Brewing Co., Black River Falls, WI
Information: Label – “Explore your darkest side… when it’s time to relax, one stout stands clear; if you’ve got the beast, we’ve got the beer.”
For the first time in my illustrious tenure reviewing beers, I finally get to test one out that’s brand new to the area. Well, my area, anyway. I have no idea whether or not this beer is available anywhere else besides Wisconsin, but it’s new to us and it’s new to me. In fact, I just happened to be in the store when the distributor was there and the wonderful proprietor of Portage Wine Cellar told the guy wheeling the new brews in who I was and I was able to snatch the first sixer off the dolly. Yeah, it’s a small victory but it’s still cool.
The pour is absolutely jet black and as velvety as you please. It has a slight creamy dollop, but that soon dissipates into the stout-standard white halo. The scents are absolutely cloying with chocolates and rich, bitter coffees. Not only does this brew smell like something you ought to be having for breakfast, but it also looks and feels like it should be drunk from a brandy snifter. It smells just as beautifully dark as it looks.
The sip is ripe with bitter-sweet cocoa and really nice mocha. It’s rich, oaky, peppery, and so very similar to a good red wine. There are notes of licorice, malts, grassy hops, and even a slightly hidden background of dark berries. This is certainly one of the more complex stouts I’ve ever had, and it’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill overtly chocolaty beer-like Yoo-Hoo. It’s delicious, strong yet smooth, and bold with many differing flavors. An absolutely stunning stout. This is the kind of beer you’d nicely match with foods that a a darker, more tannin-heavy red wine would match. I could eat a nice grilled duck breast with this no problem.
Rating: * * * * 1/2
A wonderful example of what a complex stout should be.