Thursday, August 30, 2012


Craft beer in New Zealand. How about that? I read an article about their nascent "beer scene" a couple year ago, and here we are in 2012, with the beers of 8WIRED making a splash over here in the US of A. 8WIRED are a gypsy brewer, an itinerant breed a la Mikkeller, Nogne Ø and Almanac, who each brew on other folks' equipment but with their own recipes. As a general rule, both in theory and in deomstrated practice, this allows for more experimentation and a quicker time to market for an oddball beer. I decided I needed to get better acquainted with these New Zealand nomads, and bought two of their creations from the absolutely A-MAZING beer selection at K&L Wines & Liquors in Redwood City, CA. You may have popped the caps on these as well, so I'd love to get your take on 'em too if you don't mind.

8WIRED - "FRESH HOPWIRED": This is a wet-hopped version of the most-praised beer in 8Wired's stable – or at least the one I knew I wanted to most drink – their IPA, "Hopwired". Not surprisingly, it blends Nelson Sauvin hops (from NZ, you know) with Motueka hops, which I can only assume are also from New Zealand. They call it a "refreshing take on the New Zealand IPA", and it's hard to argue. 7.3% alcohol, and a very interesting, different sort of "blended IPA" taste. That's likely due to my unfamiliarity with "Motueka" hops, don't you think? Hoppy carbonated with thin to medium body, and really good. 7.5/10.

8WIRED / RENAISSANCE / NOGNE Ø - "O FOR AWESOME": Hard for me to resist an imperial red ale, maybe the most unsung of all modern beer flavor combos, and even more difficult to ignore a "rare" collaboration beer. This is a combo of two New Zealand brewers and one Norwegian brewer, all brewed "at 8Wired". Now wait a minute, if 8Wired don't have their own facility, where exactly is this brewed at? It actually is a blend of pre-existing beers from each of the 3 brewers. 9% and not particularly hoppy at all, this red is full of sweet malts with a very restrained, creamy bitterness. Clean, sweet caramel taste and a thin body. Might've expected a little more, and as you'll see in an upcoming post, there are folks making imperial reds that blow this one clean away. Still happy to bestow upon it a 7/10, and it was a welcome relief coming into my mouth as a replacement/palate cleanser after the execrable "Tart of Darkness" last weekend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I gazed into the dark, dank maw that is THE BRUERY's latest big-boy bottle creation, "TART OF DARKNESS" - and I lived to tell the tale. No, let's be even more clear. I drank about a third of this enormous sour stout, declared it nearly undrinkable, and poured the remainder down the drain in order to save my liver for a beer more to my liking. "Tart of Darkness" is a two-trick pony. Trick #1 is that it's a stout, but sour like the most intense Belgian ale you've ever tried. Blindfolded, you'd have no idea – though the bottle talked about "roasted aromas" and other adjectives typically associated with stouts & porters, there's none of that here.

Trick #2 is that it's a beer for masochists only. It smells sour and overripe, and it tastes accordingly. Like sock. Like creamed toe. Quite seriously the least pleasurable sour ale I've ever had, and coming from a brewer I love and admire, that's what I call a rude surprise. It's under 6% ABV, but this isn't an alcohol game – it's a survival game. Are you a tough guy? How far will you go to pretend that you're enjoying this beer? What would your friends say if they knew you were calling a beer from The Bruery "undrinkable"? Why, that would be like dissing Pliny The Younger!! Go ahead, pucker-mouth lovers – ignore me at your will and spend $20 like I did and watch $14 of it swirl down your kitchen sink about ten minutes after starting it. 3/10.

Monday, August 27, 2012


You know those people for whom craft beer is not a lifestyle but a life? The ones who'll actually wait in the lines on bottle-release night, who swap $50 Cantillons in the mail every week and go orgasmic for the anything with a wax candle-dip on the cap and a unique bottle number on the side? There's a part of me who truly wants to be that guy, but I'm afraid I'm still stuck in "lifestyle". Yeah, that's probably a good thing. Yet I can descend into the nadirs of jealousy and envy just like any human, and when I read what the fella behind Don't Drink Beer blog is drinking every week (great blog, by the way - we'll have an interview with him soon), my inner fire begins to smolder, and I wonder if I can't just up my game a little bit and start hauling in the big, rare and delicious ones a little more often - money be damned.

So when San Francisco's City Beer Store had a bottle release night this past Thursday evening for a barrel-aged sour called "FIGARO" from acknowledged Oregon-based sour beer masters CASCADE BREWING, believe me, I wanted to get involved. Maybe max out on the bottle limit of three, and trade a couple away for a Cantillon "Lou Pepe" or a "Squatter's Fifth Element". Oh yeah, and drink the other one - right? Work and life intervened, as they so often do. No, I couldn't get down there until Saturday afternoon, and no, they didn't have any more bottles. One upmanship will have to go to the other guy, again.

Consolation prize? I got to drink the beer anyway. City Beer had "FIGARO" on tap - and it was terrific. Yeasty and funky even in the nose before I even enjoyed my first sip, and once I got into it - really into it, nose buried in the glass and all that - I tasted a tart but not dry sour with flavors of overripe nectarine and those "donut peaches" that are so amazing when they're around for 2 weeks every summer. Very, very juicy. Do good sours make your saliva all thick like they do mine? Good, glad to know it's not just me. This helped calm me down about missing the bottle - a really well-crafted fruit sour that I think you sour lovers will wanna put in your collection. 8/10.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I was listening to an interview with Evil Twin Brewing's radical gypsy brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø the other day on the always-excellent Beer Hear! podcast, and they asked him something along the lines of where he'd love to brew his beer in the US. The implication was obviously, "who's the most inventive and experimental US-based brewer whose ethos best matches yours?", and Jarnit-Bjergsø came back in a milisecond with his no-doubt answer: "Jolly Pumpkin, absolutely", and then proceeded to heap praise on the Michigan farmhouse masters. In recent years we too here at Beer Samizdat have come under the sway of Jolly Pumpkin, and are pretty damn delighted to be able to find their beers just about everywhere we go in our area circa 2012.

Picked up a bottle of their "BAUDELAIRE iO" saison the other day, not simply because we were smitten with the pretty victorian-era female on the bottle, but because we're Jolly Pumpkin fans over here now, and that's the end of that. And man what a beer this one is - made with "rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus", Baudelaire iO is absolutely amazing across the board. Super frothy, as you can see from my photo, and a lot of taste is retained in that huge head. Fruit, yeast, and flowers, with a deep earthiness but so much flavor to knock you for a loop. It surely falls within the saison style, definitely leaning toward the more fruit-forward and spicy of the bunch. Mine, for what it's worth, is from "Batch 1018" and was bottled on 2-10-12. I don't know if that's some sort of indicator of scarcity, but I do know I'd buy this again in a Farmington Hills minute if I saw it again. 9.5/10.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It's very possible that I went off the deep end a little early about PERENNIAL ARTISAN ALES on the basis of their a-mazing collaboration ale with Half Acre Brewing, "PLAN B". After that blew my mind from here to mid-Missouri, I ordered their wheat wine "Heart of Gold" and this Belgian-style bottle called "HOMMEL BIER" via the post. The former beer rated a 6.5/10 in my book, with the embarrassed caveat that this was truly my first wheat wine, so I don't know anything about anything anyway. So I busted out the Hommel, brought out one of my favorite beer glasses, took this photo, and starting getting down with this one in hopes of recapturing some true Plan B magic.

HOMMEL BIER is earthy and extremely yeasty, yet has an almost lager-like finish. The hops are tingling, but not lingering – you get me? They add bittering aspects, but to no obvious pleasurable end point. My reaction to it is much like the "bier" that I imagine it's fashioned after – Poperings Hommel Bier, which I didn't like the first and only time I had it many moons ago. It's 5.9% alcohol, so it's certainly drinkable in that way. It's really a melange taste you need to settle in with to get used to – this Belgian, lager, hops, yeast-bomb mishmash that tastes sorta funny. I think I'm regrettably only halfway there. 6/10.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Really only one necessary beer-related item was placed on my personal agenda for last week's family vacation to Santa Barbara, only one thing that I had to do. Kid wants to stay at the beach? Sorry, daddy's busy. Someone needs a ride somewhere? Here, stand in this spot for the next 90 minutes - be right back. Daddy had to go TELEGRAPH BREWING's weekly open house at their decidedly unassuming Santa Barbara brewery, which only happens on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. 

Back when I used to write a beer blog called Hedonist Beer Jive, I told all y'all about my 2008 visit to said open house, and raved appropriately and affectionately about a brewer who're one of our country's best and most inventive. They were completely unsung then, but much better-known now. Funny enough, not only has Telegraph's web site not evolved in the four intervening years, neither thankfully has their open house tastings, which are super low-key, friendly and held in cramped quarters as brewery personnel like head brewer Brian Thompson mill about, break bread and slap backs with visiting fellow travelers.

I kinda buzzed in and floated out quickly, making sure to try the two Telegraph beers that were being poured that I'd yet to try - and one of them is draft-only and not bottled. Even got to hobnob with Mr. Thompson a little bit, whom I've interviewed on both blogs before, and sweet-talked my way into a bottle of OBSCURA CACAO, a beer which seems to have wound up in hands all over the USA except in the most important ones - mine. A review of said beer will be coming presently - I mean, as soon as I drink it. So here's what we tried on site at Telegraph two Fridays ago:

"CERVEZA DE FIESTA PILSNER" - This beer was brewed as a local tribute to the annual summer "Fiesta" celebration in Santa Barbara, and as a fella who spent 4 somewhat blurry years in college down here, lemme tell ya, this town loves to party. So it naturally deserves a super-fresh and clean-tasting classic craft pilsner to rage with, instead of with the swill I was drinking here in the 1980s (Meister Brau, Brew 102, Stroh's, MGD). This one has faint citrus and tangy notes, and is crisp while remaining very juicy. It's dawning on me that we actually might be evolving into a new age of lagers, as the ale-centric craft geniuses turn their attention to them and/or rediscover the glories of the past. Either that or I'm just waking up to the pleasures derived from the great ones - either way, this one scores an 8/10.

"ABBEY ALE" - I should have mentioned that the previous beer can actually be found in bottles, if you look hard enough. Some of 'em made it up here to City Beer. This one isn't/hasn't (yet?). It's a 6.5% abv Telegraph version of the classic Trappist ales. Sweet, with a thin body - and not as rich and lush as I'd expect from a Westmalle/Rochefort tribute, yet delicious nonetheless. Very good grainy taste up front and then a flavorful yeasty aftertaste. Sweetness is balanced well. If it could be said, then I'll say it: this is what a "California" Belgian ale might taste like, if one could conjure such a thing. Also going with an enthusiastic 8/10.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Remember those hops-happy hippies at the MAINE BEER COMPANY we told you about not so long ago? Of course I can't find their beers where I live in San Francisco, but they're a nice one to trade for, as their beers appear to be found fairly widely along the eastern seaboard - or the folks I'm trading with are digging way deep to help a brother out. Either way, I appreciate it, this time from Mark over at the excellent KAEDRIN BEER BLOG, an essential one for your RSS. 

MAINE BEER COMPANY eschew the trappings of corporate and even mainstream craft beerdom, and very simply and Walden-like, they package their wares in plain white "generic" labels that add a Flipper-esque coolness factor of at least 1.2x. Their "LUNCH", which is the one Mark kindly sent me, is a very good, if very basic IPA. It has exceptionally smooth hopping the ensures a nice citrus bite but not a "sting". Just a bite. It's oily, with loads of lingering aftertaste. In fact it's oily on the lips as well. That's a good thing. The foam adds a note of creaminess, and overall I'm mightly glad I got to try this one. Maine Beer Co. have nailed it with both beers I've tried from them, and they might just have to get used to making some money and getting right with "the man" if they keep this level of quality up. 7.5/10.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


The posting pace here at Beer Samizdat is so breakneck - three or more a week!  - that you may have missed all the various interviews we've done with craft beer luminaries over the past year and change. My blather usually rules the roost here, but I'm trying to make a point to do a series of email interviews with people far more interesting and informed than myself. Here's a set of links to the ones we've done since starting the blog last year:

Wayne Wambles of Cigar City Brewing
Bob & B.R. from the "Beer Hear" podcast
Brian Thompson from Telegraph Brewing
Ken Weaver & Anneliese Schmidt from "The Northern California Guide to Craft Beer"
Denise Jones from Moylan's Brewery
Kristin Hennelly of Blue Heron Brewing
Derrick Peterman from "Ramblings of a Beer Runner"
Nat Webster from "The Beer Rover"
Andrea Ferrucci of San Francisco's The Dark Horse Inn

Friday, August 17, 2012


I literally, and I mean quite literally as I type this, just returned from a nearly week-long vacation w/ the family to California's Central Coast - San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara; you know, all that. Superb wine region - and starting to be quite a beer powerhouse in its own right as well. Firestone Walker and Telegraph you probably already know about. I keep reading about all these new breweries, both micro and nano, opening up in these parts, and I want to drink their ales and lagers by the bucketful. A trip with the family offers not buckets of beer, no - but I did some to central coast beers nonetheless. I'll tell you about my trip to TELEGRAPH BREWING some other time. For now, let's meet my new discovery from this week: FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN BREWING.

Truth be told, me and Figueroa got off to a rocky start this week. I ordered their "HOPPY POPPY" IPA at a bar in complete and total ignorance of who they were and where they came from - just a new beer from an unknown brewer. (As it turns out, they've been around over a year, and brew in Buellton, CA - home of "Pea Soup Anderson's!"). Hoppy Poppy has strong, chalky hops but no juice whatsover. It's highly carbonated, over-aggressive and a little scorching. My high might have been bummed because as I drank it, I learned Dwight Howard had been traded to the Lakers - but still. This wasn't how I wanted to get things going with these guys. 5/10.

Lucky for me, them and the whole beautiful world that their "DAVY BROWN ALE", pictured above, exists. Would you believe me if I told you I think this might be the best basic brown ale I've ever had? Whoa! It's a knockout. Deep malty caramel taste, a totally rich and full body, and thirst-quenching abilities despite that full body that could have, in a different setting let's say, seen me drink not one but two of these 22-ounce bottles in one sitting. And look at that label. Boom! The full package. 9/10. I bought another bottle of this today, along their Danish Red Lager (I know!) and their Double IPA. I'll be reporting on those shortly, but all they need to do is split the middle between Davy Brown and Hoppy Poppy and I'll be calling these guys one of the big boys of Central Coast brewing right here on this widely-read, extremely influential blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


All these JESTER KING BREWING bottles are spilling off the shelves in my area these days, and it's hard to know which ones to drink, you know what I mean? A year or so ago I was hunting these Texas beers down and trading for them with real live Texans, such was the power of the word going on about them. Now there's like eight of 'em for me to choose from, at Whole Foods no less! I liked the looks of this one, the WYCHMAKER rye-based IPA, and remembered a blog post of someone's that just went off the hizzle about it. Rye IPAs always have a home in my home, albeit with a very short stay if you know from whence I'm coming.

WYCHMAKER is super earthy and even a little tart (!) on the first sip. That said, it's most definitely an IPA. The rye malts are both strong and lingering, and they impart a chewy character to the beer. It's 7% alcohol - quite approachable in these days of ABV "grade inflation". As I drank it I kept going back to its "farmhouse" characteristics - it really is musty and yeasty, while remaining within the style profile of an India Pale Ale. Isn't that something? One of the more interesting IPAs I've had in a while, and something special like that DOBBEL DRAM we keep telling you about. 8/10.

Monday, August 13, 2012


If it seems like we're covering the Brettanomyces scene a little hard here at Beer Samizdat, rest assured it's just a coincidence. We're no more given to wild ale/bacteria beer hype than you are - it's just that so many goshdarned good ones are out there getting infected,  then bottled, then sold (to me) these days. Brewers in the US are finally cracking the secret Belgian code, and are helping these "Brett" beers, well, if not the mainstream than at least the mainstream of beer dorkitude. It's a trend I'll keep applauding as long as the new breed continues to use its powers for good and not ill.

Latest evidence for a harnessing of Brettanomyces powers here in the United States is this excellent collaboration ale from San Diego's THE LOST ABBEY and Colorado's NEW BELGIUM BREWING. Together they've made "MO BETTA BRETTA", a tangy, warm and uber-flavorful blonde ale. The beer has a cartoony label with a frog motif that appears to be a parody of sorts of the 1980s/90s Budweiser talking-frog ads. It pours an orange/yellow color and hits hard with tons of fruit. Apricot is the dominant flavor here, along with an omnipresent tongue-coating yeast. Carbonation is medium, and I forget just what sort of alcohol we're talking here, just that I was safe to still operate heavy machinery when I was done with it.

In short, MO BETTA BRETTA's a real goddamn treat and I'd be ready to drink one with you right this very instant if you showed up at my house or even at my place of employment with a couple of 'em. 8.5/10.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Sorry about the picture, folks - no one's ever going to compare me to Richard Avedon, especially when I've got a couple of pints at me and I'm wildly waving my iPhone at nearby beers. Over this past weekend I told the tale of my first visit to Bear Republic Brewing; well, our family stayed in somewhat-nearby Guerneville for this trip, which is one of the weirdest towns in California if you're talking about "the clash of civilizations". You have three forces colliding mightily in this burg, which is just north and west of San Francisco about ninety minutes and nestled deep into the redwoods: eco-hippies, unabashed rednecks, and homosexuals. The latter rule the roost in the limited strip of "downtown" here - and not just any homosexuals. Male homosexuals of the "bear" persuasion flock to and gather in Guerneville, so when you see a large hairy man stumbling about, you've got to trigger some mental calculations to figure out if he's bear or foe (and by foe I mean drunken, angry redneck foe, of whom I saw many here. To illustrate, one guy screamed at his dog as he passed us on the street, "Stop being such a prick!". Again, to his dog).

The cottages in which we enjoyed our short vacation were almost directly across the street from the STUMPTOWN BREWERY, a longtime brewer up here about whom I've heard little about, but have always made a mental note to visit. Compared to their North Bay brewing brethren Russian River Brewing, Lagunitas, Moonlight, Bear Republic, Moylans and the new upstart crew here, they are decidedly D-list. Didn't stop me from paying a weeknight visit, though - and what I found was even a bit surprising. Expectations were exceeded on many fronts -  I got into zero fistfights, for starters. Let's find out about the beer: 

STUMPTOWN "RAT BASTARD PALE ALE" - This had the look of a "flagship", even though these guys don't bottle. It's about what I expected it would be, which was mediocre. Initially my notes say "sour sock pale ale", but that's a little harsh, don't you reckon? It's really heavy on the malt, and is thick and viscous. Super, super bready ale - not a hop whopper at all. Grew on me a little and came out as a 6/10.

STUMPTOWN "DONKEY PUNCH" - Well stow me for a lubber, a "hopped-up lager", and a great one at that! It's crisp and creamy at the same time, and only comes in at 4.5% ABV. It's not a pilsner, just a very interesting hoppy lager that I found myself comparing to the innovative lagers that Moonlight Brewing make. I don't drink enough of these. Great beer. 8/10.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


While the LOGSDON FARMHOUSE ALES "Find Our Beer" page would have you believe that their homegrown Oregon creations can only be found in the state of Oregon, San Francisco Bay Area shoppers know better. In the space of about two days, these bulbous bottles with cool labels and interesting-looking "farmy"-sort-of labels both showed up en masse on local beer store shelves, got a write-up in the latest DRAFT magazine, and got a big thumbs-up from local beer expert Uli Elser. And you know he don't lie. A small-batch farmhouse brewer in the Oregon wilderness, making strange brettanomyces/saison concoctions in big bottles? Include me in!

Uli said SEIZOEN BRETTA was the one that blew him away, and turned out I'd bought that very same bottle the night before he said that. I brought it out last night, even though the bottle says I could have "laid it down" until 2017 with no ill effects. I'm not taking any chances, and besides - this beer is amazing. It's an orange-colored saison, dry and zesty with just the right amount of Brett/bacteria tartness to add tang and bite. You can see from my photo that it explodes with a head of foam the size of Mt. Hood. Loads and loads of yeast are present on the smell, the swallow and the aftertaste. It's spicy, with some citrus and pear notes, and overall quite "soft" on the tongue. Some real zing in the aftertaste, though. Just a beautiful beer through and through.

Turns out that David Logsdon, the man behind the brewery, was one of the founders of Full Sail Brewing - one of the go-to 1990s brewers. He has now headed back to the land, and if his SEIZOEN BRETTA is any indication, he's a front-runner for rookie of the year and should be hauling in some craft beer hardware at the end of the season. Beg, borrow or steal to ensure you get to try this one. 9.5/10.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Let's head out to the middle of America and see how they make a Double IPA out there, shall we? Today's Beer Samizdat entry comes to us via expensive mail-order package, courtesy of The Wine and Cheese Place in St. Louis, who are the final word for procuring beer from this part of the USA. I rolled the dice and decided to try Double India Pale Ale from the heretofore-unknown SIX ROW BREWING, also based in St. Louis. One spin 'round their website and it's clear they're experimenting something mighty fierce, and have a bevy of beer style to turn your head and upend your wallet, should you find yourself on the banks of the Mississippi. Let's see how their double IPA fares.

I'd definitely call this a "light" DIPA. Not a single IPA, not quite a double, but more of a 1.5. It's unfortunately lacking in some flavor. Medium carbonation, but a thin body that seems out of sorts with the rest of the package. Juicy citrus taste is there, but is faint, and there's very little smell. I looked at the bill of materials on their website, and it seems as if everything essential was included - three hop varieties, 8.4% alcohol and so on. It has some basics down pat, though, and it was not altogether unpleasant nor actually unpleasant in the least. It's a Double IPA for people scared of Double IPAs - a decent-enough "starter", if you will, but big boys stalking the big boy beers might want to keep stalking. 6/10.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I'm hoping if you haven't already that you'll take a moment to "LIKE" the Beer Samizdat Facebook page and to Follow Beer Samizdat on Twitter. What's in it for you? How about links to articles from across the craft beer world, when I get around to posting them? How about a update each and every time I post something here? How about my propensity for snarkily retweeting some of the worst and most banal commentary from quote-unquote beer lovers, often "in their cups" whilst tweeting from their phones?

We'll make it worth your while however you choose to follow us. Facebook and Twitter Beer Samizdat today!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Certainly my family were well aware that, given the fact that we'd spent the day canoeing on the Russian River near Healdsburg, CA this past Thursday, a visit to BEAR REPUBLIC BREWING was going to be high on my personal agenda. No question I'd earned it. I was chief "oarsman" - the "commander", the guy who rented us the canoe called my position at the rear at the boat - and after four hours of work, I had surreal visions of Bear Republic ales pouring down my throat in rapid succession, one Abbey dubbel following one triple IPA after another and so on. Their brewery & pub has been high on my list of places to recline and quench my thirst for many a year now, and despite only being about 90 minutes away from my home, this was my first sit-down there.

I guess I was a little taken aback at the lack of Bear Republic specialty pub-only ales on draft. While there were five of them, nothing struck me as being worth of my great and unfulfilled thirst: an ESB, a lager, something else, something else and another thing. So I ordered something I've seen in bottles the world over, and something you've probably seen too: XP PALE ALE. Guess I never thought to actually buy this one before. What about you? 

This might just be their most under-the-radar "core brew". As it turned out, it was very much what I needed. It's a juicy, quite hoppy pale ale that has such a clean and clear taste, it's made for multiple quaffs and long sessions. I had my kid with me (he sucked down a house-made root beer) so I had to make do with the one XP Pale, but I had enough wherewithal to notice its lemon-tinged backbone and very distinct hopping, unlike that of many IPAs and similar pales. I then proceeded to drown myself in 18 glasses of water and rate this beer a 7.5/10.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


These guys like to say "This ain't no Folgers" with regard to this stout ale, and that's for damn sure. WILLIAMSBURG ALEWERKS are located in colonial Williamburg, Virginia - well I guess I don't know about the colonial part, since my entire experience with the state of Virginia is restricted to the age of 0-1 (baptized in Arlington's Christ Church!!) and a 2004 work stint the Tyson's Corner/Fall's Church area. So I guess I don't know a whole lot about Williamsburg, but I do know that Dave The Drunken Polack was kind enough to send me this beer as part of the de rigeur "throw-ins" that typically constitute the bonus segment of a cross-country beer trade. I'm mighty glad he did. 

COFFEEHOUSE STOUT as the name of a beer really doesn't leave much to the imagination, now does it? This coffee-dosed stout has a thin body and almost no head on the pour. It is a light and easy drinker, and veeery creamy. Like espresso with milk, with hints of vanilla and cocoa (as opposed to chocolate per se). Nope, not a chocolate beer, and not a throat-scorching imperial stout for fat boys with beards. I'd like another one of these someday soon, perhaps when I tour the musket museum on my next trip to Williamburg. 7.5/10