Trust the people that know what they are talking about.
I've said it before... if you go to the meat counter at the supermarket, it's probably a good idea to ask the Butcher for recommendations. If you're at a restaurant, go ahead and ask the server what he or she would eat... or a bartender, ask what they like on draft... On the flipside, there are those individuals that could care less and aren't very helpful at all. If you encounter one of these unfortunate people, I advise you to steer clear. But, when you meet someone that's passionate about what they do... heed their advice.
If you find that you are passing through the Southington area, stop by Southington Wine and Spirits, located in the Walmart plaza on Queen Street. Ask for their beer manager, Joe Murphy, or "Murph" as most people call him. (A name that I know my co-blogger would appreciate.) Time after time, he's made some great suggestions for me... and this post is no different. I mentioned the blog and told me to give the Peak Organic Espresso Amber a try.
The website describes it as a robust amber ale brewed with locally roasted, organic fair trade espresso. Not sure if I've ever had a robust Amber. Robust porter, yes... but an amber?
I poured pretty aggressively and ended up with about two fingers of fluffy off-white head. It had a hazy amber color to it with some great lacing along the glass.
The smells on this beer were very pleasant. Caramel candy with a hint of coffee. Imagine the scent that you would get after pouring a little caramel flavored cream into your coffee.
Now the taste... Murph eluded to this when I picked this up a few days ago. You hear a lot about beers that include coffee, but rarely do you hear about espresso. Upfront, you get the sweetness. Amber, roasty, malty... similar to the topping of a creme brulee. Then, as the sweetness dissolves, that's when you get the espresso... not coffee. At first, it comes across as slightly bitter btw the espresso and the subtle hops used in the beer. However, the more you sip, the less you notice it.
One of the things I enjoy around the holidays is having black coffee with a sweet dessert. Normally people add creme and sugar to their coffee, but I don't feel like you have to in this case. The bitter notes in the java balance out the sweetness of the dessert. That's what this beer does with each sip. There's a lingering malty sweetness after each taste. This is probably why the bitterness disappears a little more with each sip. You're left with a that candied sugar taste which counteracts the bitter notes, taste after taste.
Pair this with some creme brulee and a roaring fire. Whoa mama.
Thanks to @KayTeeStinch for kicking off our Xmas countdown yesterday... stay tuned as we countdown all the way to #1!!