After taking 2 months to write my Hood to Coast piece, you better believe I have a few beers to review. I've been very busy trying out new styles and new breweries and I'm going to try to get a lot of reviews up in the next few days. Let's start with a biggie.
The Bruery is a relatively new brewery based out of Placentia, California. They make some of the most coveted beers on the market right now, including one called "Black Tuesday;" a once a year release that packs a punch at nearly 20% ABV. Wowsers. They try some pretty different styles and for their second anniversary, they released a beer called Coton.
I had heard a little bit about Coton and was definitely interested in trying it. However, with beers from The Bruery being pretty hard to find with the exception of 2 or 3, I figured I might not get the chance. Then my girlfriend and I were having dinner with some friends in Culver City and I noticed that they had Coton on their specials list. Sold. There was just one problem. I assumed the beer would come in a small goblet or pint glass at the most, but soon the waiter brought out a 22oz. bomber of it and a glass. Uh oh. I checked the label to see how strong it was- 14.5 %. It was going to be a long night. I poured a glass and had a look.
To tell you the truth, I've never been so taken back just by looking at a beer as I have by Coton. It poured a thick dark brown color that was almost black and had no head or hint of carbonation at all. I took a whiff and it smelled like soy sauce. I couldn't believe what I had gotten myself into. Then I took a sip.
The taste of Coton takes you places most beers don't go. It's classified as an Old Ale, which means that it is typically aged a bit longer and has a higher alcohol content than most other ales. A portion of Coton is aged in bourbon barrels, so the smell definitely has a bit of heat to it from the bourbon. For a beer that smelled so strange, the taste was really surprising. It was full of dark fruits and pleasantly sweet. I picked up a strong flavor of raisin and hints of plum, burnt brown sugar, a bit of the alcohol, smoke, caramel, molasses and fig. That's a lot going on for a beer that smells like soy sauce. As it warms, the flavors open up even more and the smell definitely becomes more complex.
The mouthfeel of the beer is very thick and syrupy, but it works somehow with the flavors. To tell the truth, it almost feels more like drinking a brandy than a beer. It's really a unique experience.
Coton is a beer that is not meant to be pounded. It's one that needs to be sipped and shared to be truly appreciated. I would absolutely try this again if given the chance. As I was drinking it, I couldn't help but think it tasted like it was begging to be aged. I feel like a year or two of aging would make this beer really special. Still, it's a fantastic offering by the Bruery.
Final Grade: A