Thursday, December 19, 2013

Belching Beaver Brewery - Peanut Butter Milk Stout

If you're a budding craft brewery in San Diego, it can be hard to figure out ways to separate yourself from the pack. One of the densest areas is the Vista/San Marcos region, which alone houses breweries like Port/Lost Abbey, Iron Fist, Latitude 33, Aztec, Mother Earth and more. Oh, and right next door in Escondido is the San Diego powerhouse, Stone. So, again, what do you do to get recognition when you're up against competition like that? One fairly new brewery's solution to the problem was humor.

From their name alone, you can probably tell that Belching Beaver doesn't take themselves too seriously. They also try to keep the "beaver" theme alive in their beers, with names like Perky Beaver, Beaver's Milk, Rabid Beaver Bite and Barrel Aged Ol' Dirty Beaver. I'm not sure how they got label approval for some of their beers, but hats off to them for getting it done. A good beer name can get you some initial recognition, but it's really only going to carry you so far if the beer sucks. Luckily, after trying a good deal of their lineup, I can tell you for a fact that their beer does not suck. Their latest beer, Peanut Butter Milk Stout (sorry, no "beaver" in this one) was given to me by my friends, Ryan and Renee, and I was pretty excited to check it out. Thanks, guys!

Peanut Butter Milk Stout pours a deep chestnut color capped by a half-finger light brown head. The initial whiff is all peanut butter and crushed peanuts. I don't know if freshly made peanut butter smells different than peanut butter that's been in the fridge for a few months, but something about the peanut butter aroma here just smells "fresh." I'm digging it. Roasted malt, light roast coffee, milk chocolate and a trace of toffee linger in the back, but the peanut aroma really keeps them at bay.

Surprisingly, you don't get that much peanut butter from the taste initially. Instead, I caught a mild roasted malt flavor that slowly built into the peanut butter by the middle. When the peanut butter does hit, it's pretty tasty, but it's not quite as intense as the smell would have you believe. There's some light milk chocolate in here and a nice vanilla note rounding things out in the finish. The beer is "only" 5.3%, so the mouthfeel is way light. Cleverly, though, the brewers added lactose to this puppy, so you get a nice creaminess that works pretty nicely with the peanut butter. Overall, I'd say this is a pretty tasty offering from Belching Beaver. I'm really looking forward to more from these guys in the future.

Final Grade: B+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 129

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