I sampled three beers over the Thanksgiving week holiday and I liked them all. Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merlin (5.5% ABV and 30 IBU) is an Oatmeal Stout that pours black with a two-finger head. Velvet Merlin has an wonderful aroma of coffee and dark chocolate. This is an excellent beer with tastes of coffee, chocolate with a silky mouth feel that and would go great with an after dinner desert. I liked this one the best.
Website description – “A decadent Oatmeal Stout brimming with cocoa and espresso aromas. Partially aged in bourbon barrels, this beer features a rich, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish. The addition of U.S. grown fuggles hops contributes the perfect amount of bitterness to this exceptionally balanced beer”.
Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout (6% ABV) is an American Stout that pours black with a large head. It smells and tastes of coffee, chocolate and just a hint of licorice. I was happy it was just a hint of licorice because I am not a big fan. I thought they had just the right touch. A very nice stout, but I liked Velvet Merlin better.
Website description – “Kalamazoo Stout represents stouts in the Bell's year-round roster, offering a blend of dark chocolate and coffee flavors with just a hint of brewer's licorice. One of our oldest recipes, it balances a significant hop presence against the roast malt body.
Commonly asked trivia:
· The brewer's licorice we use is gelatin-free, making it acceptable for vegetarians.
Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown (5.0% ABV) is an American Brown Ale that pours a dark tan with reddish notes and has a nice head. Downtown Brown is a nice brown ale that is easy to drink. It is not as roasty as a porter or a stout and is not as hoppy as a stout or an amber. Downtown Brown hits that fine line of a lightly hopped, caramel roasty flavor of an American Brown.