Style: Sweet Stout
Ok, so perhaps the title of this post is slightly misleading. After yesterday's White Christmas review, it became clear to both my cousin and I that there are SO MANY styles out there. Sam Adams has been at this for quite sometime now and they have a WIDE variety of offerings... from Sam Adams Light to their Griffin's Bow Barleywine. Listen, the White Christmas could be EXACTLY what you want in a beer. Not too aggressive. Light flavors. Subtle spices. Refreshing. If you don't like it, then you're not necessarily "cray, cray" (as Katie's older brother Johnny likes to think). I've had the White Christmas. It's good. If you had the Sam Adams White Ale (which is usually released in the Spring), I find that it's very similar. I think the White Christmas would be a great go-to on Opening Day of the baseball season. But, I'm with Kate on this one. It's just ehhh, especially with all of the big flavors out there this time of the year. But the bottom line is: different people like different beers. So, if you read yesterday's post Bing Does Not Come With Every Bottle: White Christmas and you agree with Katie and I, don't turn your back on Sam Adams just yet. Owner, Jim Koch has another trick up his Santa sleeve.
[Enter Merry Mischief Stage RIGHT]
A few years ago, Jim Koch decided to branch out into the 22 oz market of the craft beer world. They released several "big" beers to their already wide distribution: Double IPAs, Barleywines, Baltic IPA, Imperial Reds, Imperial Pumpkins, Gose... and now that we've hit the holiday season, they've introduced another offering that pushes the envelope, Merry Mischief. I think this would also be the first time I've ever had a gingerbread stout. Leave it to one of the oldest craft breweries to teach me something new.
On the pour it's dark brown, almost black... when I held it up to the light, you could see some red hues coming through near the bottom of the glass. The head is thick, fluffy - tan in color.
Whoa... major spices on this one. Their website claims to have gingerbread, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and I'm getting ALL of that... in addition to some roastiness. Lots of gingerbread upfront (makes sense, it's a gingerbread stout, Tone). There's a little sweetness towards the end too. Once you get your nose past the spice, there's a maltiness that's very inviting.
This beer tastes like Christmas to me. It's thick, roasty, full of the flavors you got on the nose and has this warmth to it near the end. It has a wonderfully balanced heat between the spices and the booze.
The carbonation on this one was pretty low which can be expected for a stout. Smooth, sweet and very enjoyable.
Like I said earlier, I've never had a gingerbread stout so I really have no basis of comparison. This is a solid offering for a limited time. It's very spicy... heavy on the gingerbread, cloves, allspice. I'll be all set to move on after about a month or so but BRAVO, Mr. Koch. Note that it's not a LET'S GET A BUNCH OF MERRY MISCHIEFS AND HAVE OURSELVES A PARTY type beer. You split one... maybe two bottles depending on the number of people you are with. I also wouldn't try to set up a game of Mischief Beer Pong either. That's sure to get you on the naughty list. This is great for those holiday or family parties where you're not sure what to bring. Mainly because it's nothing anyone's EVER tasted and it's PERFECT to share, before or after a meal with the strong flavors and high abv.