Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Breckenridge Brewery's Oatmeal Stout

Right. An ideal day: mid-week powder day at Breckenridge, doing laps until it feels like Barry Bonds spent a few hours working over your quads with a 2X4, and wrapping up the day with a Quandry burger and a quick pint at Breckenridge Brewery before either finding a couch to crash on making the long, cold drive back to Denver. Of course, if you've got the day of and theres fresh deep snow to be had, you're driving the extra 45 minutes to Vail. But still...burger and beer tastiness...hard to walk away from...

With that in mind, and a total lack of new snow in the mountains (wtf? 70 degrees in November? really? f***. Poor form, Mother Nature.) its time to pick up Breckenridge's Oatmeal Stout. Before we get too far into the review, lets just get right down to it: the beer is awesome. Not in a fancy, we-use-licorice-coriander-and-orange-peel kind of way, but in a straight up, simple, well made beer kind of way (making it that much better).

We'll get to the oatmeal first. Not a huge contributor to flavor, oatmeal give the beer 'mouthfeel' (yes thats a word, and no its not x-rated. in most instances); basically, making the beer a little heavier and thicker, and giving it better head retention. Its contribution is pretty clear here: the beer is nice and smooth, with a nice head (seriously, trying to keep it clean here).

The flavor is spot on for what you're looking for in a nice dry stout. Chocolate flavor (think dark chocolate) and coffee flavors cover it. Theres hops in there for bitterness, but Breckridge keeps them pretty light. Could be me, but I pick up some smokiness too: likely, roasted malts make up some of the grain and contribute to that cup-o'-joe taste. The beer lacks any sort of fancy ingredients or flashy style, and the flavor is all the better for its conservative build.

This is a beer for the right occasion. You can't just knock it back, and drinking a few pints of this with a heavy meal is a recipe for a coma. As lightweight as it is - 5% alcohol by volume - I can see this kicking my ass after a day on the mountain (I want to say it actually did kick my ass after a day of racing llamas - you heard me, llamas - but any drink had that day was followed by many more). I see this one as a late night, shooting the shit with the fellas with a stogie type of beer. Overall:

7 thumbs up, 3 stars.

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