Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/10/2018 (1085 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In this week’s edition of First Draught, I was preparing to review a pumpkin spiced ale. So, when I went to both the Corral Centre and 10th & Victoria Liquor Marts to pick up some pumpkin spiced beers, I was shocked to see that there were none in stock.
Actually, there hasn’t been a single pumpkin spiced beer released to Liquor Marts in Brandon yet, which is odd considering we’re well into the "season" already. Usually we’ll see a pumpkin beer or two out by early September, but this year there hasn’t really been anything so far. Fort Garry’s Happy Jack, which is generally the first pumpkin beer to pop up on my radar every year, hasn’t even made its way to Brandon yet.
It’s kind of eerie, but I know that in a few weeks time there will be so many pumpkin spiced beers that I wish that it was already beer advent calendar season.
This week, I’m checking out Michigan-based Saugatuck Brewing’s Darker Than Your Soul Stout. Since I’m not able to sample an overly nutmeg and cinnamony pumpkin beer this week, I’m thinking that Darker than Your Soul will be perfect with the cold gloomy November-like weather we’ve been having for a month now.
Darker Than Your Soul is described as being a full-bodied dark stout with smooth malt characteristics topped off with a slightly roasted finish. Mellow, earthy hop flavours pair perfectly with the dark malt profile to leave you begging for more. 6.5 per cent ABV, 54 IBU.
The stout pours a pitch black-as-the-night body with a bit of a cola hue at the very bottom, and a light amount of a rich cookie dough caramel hue for the head. The aroma gives off a rich presence of roasted malt, which has a nice roasted coffee aroma to it, followed by notes of dark chocolate, a bit of caramel, and coffee bread. This is fairly sweet of a stout but mostly a rich and roasty stout.
The taste for some reason has a "flame broiled" smoke-like taste to it even though I really doubt it would ever have it at all. The stout has a rich roasted malt profile to it, giving it a bit of a roasted coffee presence that we already saw in the aroma profile. This stout is actually sweeter than the many other stouts I’ve had in the past month or so. There’s the presence of dark chocolate, a good helping of caramel, and notes of cream of sugar that almost gives it a "double double" like personality to it, smoothing out the roasty presence of the beer to make it easier to drink than a lot of American stouts I’ve had over the years. The aftertaste is a light roasted malt profile combined with a hint of creaminess as well.
I found this stout a good deal sweeter than Half Pints’ Stir Stick Stout, a lot smoother than Torque’s Diesel Fitter, and even a lot more roasted than a typical Guinness. This stout is very easy to savour and not leaving behind any aftertaste that I’d generally find unappealing in a typical stout.
I’ve seen Saugatuck Brewing’s beer in Manitoba before but I always assumed that they were tied to Labatt, but nope. This is an independent craft brewery based out of Michigan that’s distributing to mainly Western Canada for its international market. Seeing that they’re not attached to Labatt makes me disappointed on the times when I thought they were a Labatt brewery, skipping their beers in favour of beers I’ll drink any other day of the week. Well I guess you learn from your mistakes!
All in all, this is an absolutely tasty stout with a creamy mouthfeel, good amount of roasted coffee profile, caramel sweetness, dark chocolate and a "double double" to top it off.. a tad tooooo sweet perhaps, but I think it might be worth it after a very long day at work.
The beer is currently not listed on Liquor Marts website but it retails for about $4 per 355 mL bottle and should be available at all three Brandon Liquor Marts. 4/5 Pints
In last week’s review of Unibroue La Fin du Monde, I mentioned that Prairie Firehouse had Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly on tap. On Oct. 1 the pub changed their seasonal tap selection, removing the Chambly treat. Shed no tears as Prairie Firehouse will be going through a rotating list of beers from Torque Brewing, Barn Hammer Brewing, Half Pints Brewing, and One Great City Brewing, all based out of Winnipeg. Torque, Barn Hammer and One Great City all have their own take on a Belgian witbier, so you will see all of their versions on tap over the course of the next six months. I’m hoping for a combination of Half Pints Bull Dog Amber, Torque Diesel Fitter, Barn Hammer Saturday Night Lumber Jack, and One Great City Belgian Esprit on tap at the same time… I can dream!
Surly Rising North Pale Ale — Manitoba is still the only international market for one of USA’s most popular craft breweries and I like it that way! Surly’s Rising North Pale Ale is now available in Brandon (10th & Victoria, Corral Centre) for $3.99 per 473 mL can. Rising North is mildly bitter with a nice tropical hop presence. Brewed in honour of Minnesota United FC and for us who have to deal with the harsh winter months that turn ourselves into Surly individuals.
Delirium Tremens & Delirium Nocturnum — Belgian’s own Delirium Tremens and Delirium Nocturnum are back at Manitoba Liquor Marts after leaving in 2016 after complaints over the brand’s names. Now they’re back! The beers aren’t currently listed on Liquor Mart websites but they retail for approximately $4.70 per 330 mL ceramic bottle. If you loved my review of Unibroue La Fin du Monde last week, Delirium Tremens is a similar style beer. Nocturnum is more like a Unibroue Maudite in style. Prairie Firehouse will be carrying Delirium Tremens on draught as part of their new menu as well.