by Daniel Barnes and Darcey Self-Barnes
Tweak (Avery Brewing Company)
Avery Brewing Company:
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($12.99/12 oz. bottle) and poured into mini goblet glasses.
This “stout with coffee added aged in bourbon barrels” pours a desolate black with a tight, brown sugar-colored head. Tweak blasts out an intensely sweet nose of chocolate syrup and black coffee, with alcohol singe and barrel wood bringing up the rear (it’s very similar to the Black Tuesday we reviewed last month). The first sip is not as sweet as expected, but it packs a mighty punch—dark chocolate, coffee grounds, sawdust, vanilla, and whiskey-soaked wood chips crowd the palate, leaving an almost chile-like burn on the tongue. It’s a beer that goes directly to your dome, almost too strong for its own good, but also too big and bold and challenging to dismiss or ignore.
Black Tuesday we reviewed.
Black Metal 2013 (Jester King Brewery)
9.3% ABV, 1.085 OG, 1.015 FG, 44 IBUs
Purchased at Final Gravity ($11.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into goblet glasses.
This imperial stout brewed with farmhouse yeast from Austin-based Jester King has been aging in our “cellar” for nearly two years, and it pours a licorice black with a marshmallow-y, toasted brown head. Rich coffee and chocolate aromas welcome you on the nose, along with wood, licorice, and a citrus smell that eventually comes to dominate; the overall effect is similar to chocolate-covered oranges. That orange-y bitterness is also present on the first swallow, as are bitter chocolate and kindling, with those richer chocolate and coffee flavors barely peeking out from the background. After aging, Black Metal is still a big, dark boozer with a light body and some intriguing bitterness, but it’s also one-note, and it was a lot better fresh.
Daniel Barnes and Darcey Self-Barnes have been blogging about craft beer at His & Hers Beer Notes since January 2012. Darcey is a freelance designer and illustrator, and Daniel is a film critic for the Sacramento News and Review and a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.