All right, so remember that over-eager brewery that sent us samples after a tepid review?
We've tried not to stack up the reviews and seem like a marketing machine, but it was a perfect night this week for a stout, and they happened to have sent one to us. If memory serves, we've now run dry, so deal.
The particular variety of brew was Twisted Pine Brewery's Espresso Stout. It was impossible to miss the coffee, but it's not a gimmick. This, more than any beer in the coffee category, tastes like a smooth joe with cream and sugar. Not a bunch of sugar -- this is malty but not sweet. Mainly, it's just so, so smooth.
There's not much aroma to this, which detracts a bit, but it's not a serious handicap. There are plenty of roasted flavors here, too, but it never gets too ashy, which is frankly a bit surprising. By the look and mouthfeel, we expected far worse. The balance is nice. There's plenty of film left over in the mouth, mainly malty, and each sip maintains some semblance of that coffee-with-cream thing.
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We expected more changes -- another flavor to peak through, another tinge at the sides of each sip -- but it didn't. That said, this is still good beer, and that unnamed flavor wasn't really needed. It's got enough layers to be interesting.