So, check that out. This beer was recommended to me by an employee of Belmont Station and at $25 I balked at the price.
“It’s worth it,” he assured me.
This is North Coast Brewing’s Old Stock Ale from 2009 and it smells like a bourbon barrel plus raw maple syrup with hints of chocolate underneath, even suggesting red wine. The head diminishes quickly, though there are tiny bubbles that ride through the whole experience of drinking the contents of my glass.
And it is luscious. Everything you might like about a very nice sip of whiskey, with the softness of an old ale, and on top of that there is a nutty, maple finish that shows up at the end hugs your tongue goodbye when it leaves. It’s sweet from the malts but halts short of cloying by a respectable margin. If you drink this beer on an empty stomach, you’ll feel a little heat in the belly from the 13+% alcohol but that doesn’t make itself known in the mouthfeel at all.
As it happens, I’m drinking this with a little Anchient Heritage cheese made from sheep’s milk. It’s a very mild cheese that melts easily on the roof of your mouth and has just enough sharpness to allow for the next taste of beer to come through.
The Old Stock Ale is really, really good. It’s also really, really expensive with just over a pint in the bottle I purchased. I can’t say that I agree with the expense on a regular basis but I will say that should you have the opportunity to try some, jump on it because it’s truly wonderful.