Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 11.25.17: A Flight of Sweet Tooth


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-Flight-smallWhat are the holidays without a rich, decadent dessert beer? Dessert wines such as ports and brandies have been popular for ages, but there is a growing variety of dessert beers. With the launch of the holiday season, we thought it would be appropriate to offer a craft beer flight of dessert. Dessert beers are robust, rich, and boast an alcohol presence that is usually, well, warming. Over the years craft breweries have reached deep to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, and this roundup highlights some of our favorite non-traditional selections that satisfy our sweet toot, which is why we call it Craft Beer Crosscut 11.25.17: A Flight of Sweet Tooth.

Craft Beer Crosscut 11.25.17: A Flight of Sweet Tooth

Iron-Horse-Cozy-Sweater-TacomaIron Horse Cozy Sweater

4.5% ABV, 7 IBU

Some things you can never un-see, and a knitted reindeer sweater your grandma gave you is one of them. Iron Horse Brewery pokes fun at ugly holiday sweater with its delicious vanilla milk stout, Cozy Sweater. Full of holiday cheer but a little lighter on the alcohol this brew wears a dark and chocolaty beer foundation. Then comes the lactose adding a smooth and round mouthfeel, plus a touch of sweetness with vanilla beans. Expect a sweet latte flavor mixed with some other tastes of roasted malt and a little bit of vanilla.

Rogue-Hazelutely-Choctabulous-TacomaRogue Hazelutely Choctabulous

5.7% ABV, 51 IBU

For more than a decade Rogue Ale bartender blending the Oregon brewery’s Chocolate Stout and Hazelnut Brown Nectar, dubbing it a “Snickers.” Rogue Brewmaster John Maier finally said screw it and blended the beers before it reach the bars. The result is Rogue Hazelutely Choctabulous, a perfect blend of hazelnuts and chocolate. It’s dark and decadent with a rich nutty flavor up front followed by a chocolate truffle finish.

Lagunitas-Brown-Shugga-TacomaLagunitas Brown Shugga

9.7% ABV, 51 IBU

Brown Shugga was created in 1997 after Lagunitas Brewing brewers attempted to rescue a failed batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale by adding “boatloads of brown sugar” — or so the story goes, anyway. Super sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar are yanked back by piney hops that kick in with a bitterness that intensifies for two or three seconds before starting to fade. When the beer is cold the hop bitterness is the dominant flavor, but it mellows out as it warms up letting the malts come through more.

Evil-Twin-Imperial-Mexican-Biscotti-Cake-Break-TacomaEvil Twin Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break

10.5% ABV, 60 IBU

Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø contract brewed at Westbrook Brewing in South Carolina before moving his Evil Twin Brewing to New York City. As he brewed his Biscotti Break imperial stout with vanilla, almond and coffee he drank Westbrook’s Mexican Cake imperial stout with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers. Then one day Biscotti Break met Mexican Cake and they knew it was much more than a hunch. Soon they became the Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break, an imperial stout brewed with coffee, cinnamon, almonds, cocoa nibs, vanilla and habanero peppers. The result? An even bigger beer. Two dessert beers meeting in one glass could be overwhelming. Not in this case. As the beer warms, cinnamon chocolate and vanilla start to pop. Subtle elements of the two beer threads are far from a challenge to find in each sip. The only thing subtle here is the pepper.

Stillwater-On-Fleek-TacomaStillwater On Fleek

13% ABV, 50 IBU

Vermont brewery Casita Cerveceria traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to brew this black as night imperial stout at Stillwater Artisanal. Oh, but it doesn’t smell like motor oil but instead coffee, burnt toast, dark chocolate and a little marshmallow, all woven between strong alcohol tones. We placed this delicious treat at the end of the flight as it warms complex licorice, bold earthy bitterness, chocolate, earthy vanilla, faint smoke and caramel fudge come forth. It finishes long with an intense and heavy mouthfeel — almost like a milkshake — slightly vinous for the style, with a smooth but firm alcohol warmth. There’s enough carbonation to push the beer along and make it dangerously, DANGEROUSLY drinkable for 13 percent.