Baerlic’s Gray Scale, which is a coffee-Vienna style lager. That’s weird: coffee stouts and pale coffee stouts are both things I’ve had and, as visually weird as a pale stout can be, it’s still pretty tasty.
But a coffee lager is a new thing and I cannot pass up a chance to try a new thing!
The coffee is in the nose but it isn’t oppressive. That’s good, because this is a lighter style of beer and could easily be overwhelmed. The scent is constant, though, all the way down; there’s no point where I don’t know I’m drinking a coffee flavored beer.
The Gray Scale is…challenging. Because there are some sweet flavors here, undoubtedly from the malt, that keep this beer in check. I am sure I don’t have to tell anyone how intense coffee flavor is, though and there aren’t lots of other flavors in the Gray Scale to keep that coffee back.
As it warms up, the beer gets a little sweeter and the finish becomes crisper, making it easier to drink.
Glass two: I have a chance to notice how quickly the head on the beer settles: a good centimeter and a half in not more than 30 seconds!
The nose is again a solid coffee sweetness, but when I drink the Gray Scale, I’m able to pick up a little more effervescence this time-a bit more pop on my tongue.
That backs off quickly and now that I’m in the middle of the beer, I’m drinking coffee sweetened without milk. Which I don’t ever think I’ve had, and maybe that’s why I’m so puzzled by this beer. I don’t drink coffee, so part of the experience is simply lost on me.
I really like the first beer, but in the second glass I’m experiencing palate fatigue and I don’t want more of this. Despite having a short pour, that second glass is a struggle to sip on. I’m torn between wanting to pound it down, or just take my time.
I settle for taking my time. The final third of the beer again becomes crisper but I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t’ve been happier with an even shorter pour than I got.
Still: for one glass? This is a damn solid beer.
Today’s second pint goes to Hygiene 4 All. Disclosure: I know a person working there and think what they’re doing is cool.