On The Rail: Bailey’s (Caldera Old Growth Stout Edition)

Six years ago or so, I had this beer with my then girlfriend and another good friend: the beer tasted like Mexican hot chocolate; slightly roasted, hint of cinnamon, chocolate weaving in and out. We spent ten minutes trying to figure out what was in our goblets. Jokes were made, discussion had, it was a Pretty Good Night. Eventually, the lady got a raspberry lambic and someone, maybe even me, had the notion to blend the beers. The result tasted like chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce drizzled over it.

Like I said: A Pretty Good Night.

I’m not sure if I’m trying to recreate that memory or not, ordering this beer now. I can’t, no matter what; I am alone, the friend is far away, the girlfriend is an ex and the beer isn’t the same. There’s a goddamn metaphor in there if you want to dig for it: I don’t.

But is the beer still good?

It’s not quite as good as my memory but I suppose it’s worth asking: What ever is?

I don’t want to chase that ghost. It’s not worth it. That said, I am back at Bailey’s because it’s comforting. That’s probably why I got this beer, too: I recognize it and I know it’s good.

Let me not provide the wrong impression: This stout IS good. Based on how it comes off my palate, I’d tilt towards calling it a porter. This has a lot to do with the fizz on the middle of my tongue, cutting off the potential acrid notes of the dark malt. I think if I drank coffee every day, I’d be all over this beer.

There’s something that lingers around my tongue, a viscosity that helps this beer earn its stout marks. The stout definitely has more flavors than coffee & chocolate going on but I don’t think cinnamon is the correct note here. It’s more woody than that, not as spicy.

Time is not kind to my beer though. Something a little vegetal comes up in the nose as I pour the last of the bottle into my glass. That next sip is not as pleasant and though the scent disappears by the time I want to take my next drink, I can’t say I’m as impressed with this bottle as I have been in the past.

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