While taking a break from rehearsals for “The Rimers of Eldritch” we had a small Halloween cast party. I asked the assistant director for a beer. And so, friends, it was in October of 1976 (and still a minor) that I had my first taste of stout, Guinness, of course. My friend had warned me that it wasn’t for everybody, but I assured him that I loved stout (not admitting that I had no idea what a stout was…it was acting after all). The taste was unlike any beer I had ever had in my admittedly small experience composed mostly of American swill. Mysteriously black, bitter, witches’ brew. And I can’t even remember if I liked it. This beer was hypnotically chanting, “Come to the dark side”.
So here I sit mesmerized by a just poured glass of Uncle Jacob’s Stout by those fine folks at Avery. Dark brown finger of foam. Sweet aromas of spice, raisin, perhaps prune. The taste is complex and challenging as it seems to sway from sweet to bitter and back within a single taste with an exceptionally long finish.
I am sitting just outside the kitchen where there is a bowl of slightly overripe bananas with attendant fruit flies and even they are flying over to have a smell and taste. Not sharing and not the least of which is the $10 bucks and change that I forked over for this 12 ounce bottle (“Oh, but it’s so worth it!” said the clerk). It is not a bottle for “stranded on a tropical island” everyday drinking, although an island beyond 45° N might suffice. Big alcohol factor here at 16.53%.
I am intrigued by styles. The bottle says “Imperial Stout” but its alcohol level goes far above what one would normally expect for this. The aroma and taste remind me of a Belgian quad, very port-like. Hence, it would provide a perfect pairing with dark chocolate desserts and even as a dessert course alone. Bravo, Avery!
Although I wander elsewhere, I always return to the dark side.
P.S. That damn $16 beer is still in the refrigerator.
Soon, grasshopper, soon…