Wish You Were Beer
House Edition: Boxing Bear's Chocolate Cream Stout
Weekly Alibi is an intrinsically local affair. Recently the Alibi staff were blessed with a device that delivers—on demand—one of the locally made products our city is most famous for, besides blue colored crystal methamphetamine and Pimental & Sons guitars. It's our internationally recognized, high-quality local beer. This writer is still trying to think of another name for the thingamajig we use to access this magical liquid, because the word “kegerator”, like “labradoodle”, is just plain hard to say without inviting a sinking feeling that the english language is seriously at risk. Also, Alibi's beer machine is as finicky as an old Evinrude outboard motor and deserves more than two words mashed together. Perhaps something vintage sounding, like “Fine Time Foam Queen”; "The Spigot” would work as well. Patience is required to get a glass of brew out of our little fridge with a tap on the top of it but the quality of our city's locally produced beer makes the effort worthwhile. As one beer replaces another in the grog box in the back room, Weekly Alibi will share our thoughts and tasting notes. Stay tuned for some ideas on what to order next time you're at one of our local brew-pubs or tap-rooms, there are not-to-be missed pints to be had in nearly every part of town these days. Like the delicious stout our brew hydrant currently dispenses in expanding gushers of foam, creating a fun atmosphere not unlike the one in The Rolling Stones' video for “It's Only Rock 'N' Roll".
• Boxing Bear's Chocolate Milk Stout (5.2 % ABV, 20 IBU)
Boxing Bear took home a pile of awards in 2016, including “mid-size brew-pub of the year” at the Great American Beer Festival, where their Chocolate Milk Stout bested 72 others to win first place in the cream stout category. This stout has won awards at various other festivals and competitions over the past couple years and the Alibi staff is honored to work alongside this standout beer; we couldn't ask for a finer wintertime co-worker.
Boxing Bear's milk stout is a shining example of an American cream stout, so-called because of the addition of non-fermentable lactose—milk sugar— which retains its mild sweetness through fermentation and lends a creamy character to the resulting beer. American stouts are traditionally lighter bodied than their British ancestors and are thus well suited for the addition of an adjunct like lactose, adding texture without creating a monster thick dark beer.
The milk sugar combines with a generous helping of chocolate and caramel malt to bring the beer close to confectionary status without becoming overwhelming. Some chocolate stouts must be rationed like a triple-layer chocolate cake; one glass of Young's Double Chocolate Stout, for example, is sufficient. With any sense, that beer should be delivered to your palate as a finisher, after your main course. Part of what makes Boxing Bear's Chocolate Cream Stout an award-winning beer is its drinkability. It has a medium bodied mouth feel that is textbook American cream stout. Where some chocolate stouts blow the doors off with sweetness and chocolate adjuncts, the Burque-based brewers show restraint. Their measured addition of unprocessed cocoa nibs at the finish adds flavor without dominating the stout's well-balanced character. The result is a brew that some will drink like Guinness (you know, like water) while others will treat their pour as a sophisticated dessert beer. Well done.