Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Fancy Pants Sunday: Perennial Coffee Abraxas

Ron Swarner

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You fancy Perennial 2019 Coffee Abraxas!

Fancy Pants Sunday: Perennial Coffee Abraxas

When Phil Wymore drove from Goose Island Beer in Chicago to open Perennial Artisan Ales in St. Louis he passed endless string of neon “Budweiser” and “Bud Lite” signs. Anheuser-Busch sits six miles north of  where Perennial headquarters operates today. The barrage of Big Beer didn’t sway him from his craft beer brewery end goal. After all, Wymore spent time at Goose Island and Half Acre before bringing his own craft brews to the land of red and white labeled beer. In September 2011, the confident Wymore, his wife, Emily, and crew opened the brewery and tasting room nestled in St. Louis’ Carondelet neighborhood with flagships Hommel Bier and Southside Blonde on tap.

That’s all fine and dandy, but this not “This Is Your Life Phil Wymore,” but rather the Fancy Pants Sunday column, a weekly look at complex, delicious and often crazy expensive craft beers. Although, Peaks and Pints is thankfully Wymore was born as his fancy Abraxas imperial milk stout is one of the best beers every brewed, and its coffee variant, today’s Fancy Pants Sunday beer, is equally special.

Abraxas imperial milk stout is brewed with ancho chili peppers, cacao nibs, cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. The result is rich and complex and still well balanced — spice additions are well done. None of the individual ingredients stands out in particular, but all contribute to the overall impression of a nice cup of Mexican hot chocolate. In this variant, Perennial cold brewed Dark Matter Coffee’s Pacas Vieja from Santo Petrona and produced a blend that marries perfectly with the stout. It pours a menacing used motor oil black with a mocha-colored foam. It’s higher-carbonated than most imperial stouts with significantly better head retention. It hits the nose with ancho chili, which adds a savory, spicy raisin character. Intense cinnamon, licorice, and blackstrap molasses constitute the remainder of the nose. You can’t wake up and smell the coffee, as the aroma doesn’t scream coffee, and quite absent in the flavor too. Instead, you experience silky dark chocolate, light ancho, Muscovado sugar, fudge, and s’mores as the beer warms up. It’s a well-balance imperial milk stout.

You fancy Perennial Coffee Abraxas!