The Howe Sound Brewery in Squamish, British Columbia is one of Canada’s foremost innovators of craft brewing. One of their most innovative creations of late is the Megadestroyer Stout a 10% Imperial Stout brewed with copious amounts of licorice root and star anise. Megadestroyer was brewed specially for Vancouver’s mecca of craft beer consumption, the Alibi Room. The Alibi Room where I drank my 1000th beer (another blog entry perhaps) is one of the greatest beer bars in the world and this tipple was created especially for their 200th beer menu. The Howe Sound brewery is a fantastic tourist locale just an hour north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway is the perfect stop for a snack and sip after an adventurous day in the mountains. Myself I stopped there last September after a day of hiking with some friends. The food and drink were fantastic as was the great view of the namesake Howe Sound. I’ve heard both good and bad about this beer but as a person of Dutch heritage I feel I may love this beer already. As a young child when my Opa came to visit he would always had a pocket full of licorice pastel candies which I sucked on until my lips turned black.
Getting to the beer, Megadestroyer pours a creamy and viscous opaque black with a thick, creamy tan hea. The head subsides in just a few minutes leaving some splotches of lacing on the snifter. A thick wafting aroma of dark licorice and star anise floats out of the glass. A rich, robustly roasted malt and notes of dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla are noted. The nose has a pungent licorice note that could be hard to get past for many beer drinkers. Sweet and rich roasted malts up front with a big licorice flavoring hit the palate right away and doesn’t subside. More licorice and anise flavor right through to the finish with robust and potent roasted astringent notes. The 10% ABV is unnoticed by the palate but has a thorough warming sensation. The licorice lingers long into the aftertaste and doesn’t subside for some time. On the whole, I felt this was a fantastic beer though rather unapproachable for many beer drinkers and perhaps even a few Imperial Stout lovers. But for the niche market of licorice and imperial stout fans, this hit the mark.