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.
Coronado Brewing Co out of Coronado, CA is a new brewery to hit the Alberta shelves thanks to a new hobbiest distributor in love with California beer. To be honest I have previous experience with Coronado beers that made me “jump for joy” upon hearing they would be soon shipped to Alberta. On a recent vacation to the “Big Island” of Hawaii with my family I went hiking on the northern shores of Kohala. I ventured to the one most beautiful place I’ve ever seen with my own eyes the Pololulu Valley (http://i.imgur.com/OnnPk.jpg) the most northern tip of the island. Later that day I wandered into Lighthouse Liquors in the nearby town of Hawi where I found an incredible selection of beers despite the extremely remote location. I bought a selection of Imperial Stouts and Barley wines I was giddy to find. The shopkeeper knew a lot about beer and after seeing my selections suggested a beer she just received from Coronado Brewing. To be honest I had never heard of them and bought it on her strong suggestion to do so. This Idiot IPA turned out to be one of the best Double IPA’s I’ve ever had. Brewed in a no-holds-barred fashion with a supremely intense and vigorous hop content, Coronado Brewery has been on my watch list for some time. So now maybe you can appreciate my giddy nature at learning I could soon be tasting one of favorite beers again, not to mention the adventure through which I learnt of the brewery.
Stoopid Stout is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout part of the Crown Series brewed by Coronado. The pour is a deeply opaque black with a thick two finger khaki colored head and a few plodding bubbles in the body. The nose is pungent and potent with strong roasted and boozed filled aromas wafting off the glass. Nosing in deeper I find a sultry aroma of perfectly roasted espresso, light smoky notes, dark chocolate and an abundant boozy note. Heavy roasted malts, dark chocolate and woody earthen notes fill the middle with a hint of smoke, light coffee and espresso also noticeable. An intense dry bitterness builds up with the roasted malts stacking up heavily against all other tastes. The finish has an astringent bitterness lingering for sometime despite the warmth and heat of the alcohol presence. I find that this really detracts from the overall quality of the beer as it lacks the depth and balance I had hoped for. Despite this, Stoopid Stout is truly brewed in the no-holds-barred way that I found in Hawi with the Idiot IPA. Many of the subtleties and minor notes are lost amidst the heavy roasted bitterness and heavy alcohol presence. Regardless, this is a great beer for a cold winter night and does not deter me from drinking more.