Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hardywood's Gingerbread Stout is a Bottle of Christmas Spirit

Hardywood Reserve Series
Gingerbread Stout
9.2% ABV
2013 release

First off, this post is brought to you by the Christmas Spirit – 100%

I was minding my own business, tweeting Hardywood Brewery to find out if I could get my hands on their Gingerbread Stout anywhere in Mass. for our 12 beers of Xmas countdown and then “poof” a ghost of Christmas past appears (a friendly one!!) – an old high school buddy, @josh_Conrad, who I haven’t seen or talked to in more than a decade offers to ship me some!

He lives in Virginia and this beer is brewed in his hometown. Despite his proximity to the pint, it's still NOT easy to acquire … he sends me a pic of line:

… eeeek! (He assures me that he was going anyway). Apparently this is the normal scene when distributing the GBS at Hardywood. A follow up tweet tells me that they are capping the takeaway limit that day to one bottle per person! “OH No! What is this stuff made out of gold?” (yes, but we’ll get to the review in a minute)

Well all I can say is @josh_Conrad is the champ of all champs. I am not sure how many bottles he ended up walking away with that day or how long he stood in line, but all I know is two icy cold bombers arrived yesterday and I could not be more grateful. Cheers to old high school buddies and going above to make this blogger’s holiday season a little brighter. Merry Christmas!!

Now onto the beer, which is made of gold.

The Brewer Says:
Brewed with baby ginger from Casselmonte Farm and wild flower honey from Bearer Farms, Hardywood Ginger bread Stout captures the terroir of central Virginia in a rich creamy libation with a velvety mouth feel and intriguing evolution of flavors from milk chocolate and vanilla to honeycomb and cinnamon to a snap of ginger in the finish.

Their Mission:
To become one of the most respected brewers in the United States through integrity in our ingredients and in our business practices, through respect for brewing heritage, and through the inspired creation of extraordinary beers.

The Pour: dark brown that settles jet black underneath, half a finger of light brown fluffy head, good retention and some lacing

The Nose: HEAVEN! Floral honey, Dried fruit (apricot??), ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and biscuitty gingerbread cookies, yum!

The Taste: Follows suit with the smell! Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and silky, with moderate carbonation. Immediately I get roasted malts, milk chocolate, vanilla, sweet caramel and cinnamon – then comes the spicy gingerbread flavor – that coats the tongue, with a milky-chalky, fizzy finish.

This is a well-done beer. I love that Hardywood uses local products in their brews and from the website, I takeaway that this is a company that really cares about their community, does a lot for charity and puts out quality (over quantity) products. I am only sad that they are so difficult to get, because I WANT MORE!

The pairing:
Hardywood suggests crème brûlée or fresh chocolate pudding, rich desserts with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or chocolate to really bring out the flavor of Gingerbread Stout. I say, this is great as a standalone dessert, maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? Stout a la mode?

I am so happy to follow up my last post with something deserving of the Beer411 xmas countdown!! Cheers to good beers. Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

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