Thursday, February 27, 2014

Coronado Brewing Company - Barrel Aged Stupid Stout

The last time I checked, San Diego had over 80 breweries. And I'm pretty sure in the time it took me to type that last sentence, another one opened up. Reviewing beer from all of these new breweries isn't going to be an easy task, but someone's gonna have to do it. So if you have a new brewery in San Diego, don't worry- I'm coming to check out your stuff soon enough. But sometimes, lost in the excitement of new breweries, we lose sight of the breweries that helped lay the path for what the San Diego beer scene has become today. One of these breweries is a brewery that I've sort of unintentionally neglected for far too long, Coronado Brewing Company. They've been doing this brewing thing since 1996 and they're pretty good at it. I hadn't had much from them in a while, so when a barrel aged version of their Stupid Stout was released, I had to try it.

Barrel Aged Stupid Stout pours black with a tightly bubbled half-finger light brown head. Each sip leaves a nice swathe of lace down the glass. The second you get close to the beer, you feel like you're inside a bourbon barrel. I don't know that I've ever gotten so many barrel notes out of a beer's smell before. There's a good deal of bourbon, without knocking you back with heat, but the oak is really the star of the show here. It's big and intense, pushing spicy wood notes out at you. If you go beneath that (if you really want to...) the stout itself begins to emerge, with some cocoa powder, dark chocolate and some light notes of dark cherries.

If you're a fan of the barrel notes that you smell in this beer, wait till you get to the taste. Holy moly. Tons and tons of oak here, with a slightly boozy kick of straight bourbon that is sure to put some hair on your chest. The barrel notes eventually give way to the base beer, which shows up midway through the taste in the form of some dark and baking chocolate notes with a touch of anise. The finish brings some drying bourbon, just a touch of booze and some more dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium- just rich enough to stand up to the heaviness of the oak and bourbon. Consider me a fan of this.

On a side note, I'm also a pretty big fan of the people at Coronado Brewing Company as well. The first bottle I got of this had a naturally occurring protein buildup in it, which kind of had me grossed out. When I emailed them about it, the head brewer emailed me back, explained what it was and then had me come down to the brewery so he could give me another bottle himself. Their new tasting room down in Bay Park looks fantastic, and it's just about as central as you can be in San Diego. The distance excuse no longer works. Go check them out!

Final Grade: A

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 130

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