i had high hopes for this stout but my first impression is that it is lacking. not sure if i got a bad can or if this is how it always is, but there’s a weird metallic kinda taste to it that i just can’t get past.
the aroma is rather faint, a bit roasty, a little chocolatey. poured a very dark almost black with a small head that disappeared immediately. it is smooth but the carbonation is minimal, almost non-existent. i wouldn’t really say it’s “creamy” which is sad for something called a milk chocolate stout. and the flavor is kinda subtle, again roasty, almost burnt, nutty-chocolatey.
as i drink through the glass, i am getting used to the metallic taste and don’t notice it as much. it has kind of a dry finish and is almost light in a guinness kinda way, for a dark/stout. i like it more as i drink more of it. the chocolate comes out more too, the more you drink.
this brew does have lactose in it, in case that’s a concern. ingredients are listed as: water, lactose (milk), barley, malt, oats, rye, hops, yeast, cacao nibs, and the hops used is bramling cross. 99 calories and 21g of carbs. not bad for a stout. 36 IBU though honestly i don’t taste that. (i think the lactose balances out the bitterness.)
i dunno. i think the jury is still out. i like it ok, but not sure i like it as much as i thought i would or as much as everyone else seems to like it. don’t know that i need to keep it on hand but wouldn’t be sad to see it on a menu at a restaurant or on a bar beer list. i’m just a tad disappointed it didn’t knock me over. maybe i need to give it another go another time.
i’ve been doing this NA beer thing since november so have drunk a LOT of it by now – 33 different kinds, to be exact! (good thing NAs tend to have a lot fewer calories/carbs than regular beer!)
i thought maybe a top 10 list was in order. i am finding that my opinion of some of these brews changes over time and upon repeated consumption, perhaps differing greatly from my first impression. i’m making this list for my own purposes, to refer to when restocking once i drink through all that i already have. and of course, there’s still so much i have NOT sampled – this is just a “faves so far” list.
i’m offering these in no particular order. i like different beers for different reasons at different times and though i might really LOVE a particular beer, it might not be the style that i want to drink a lot of or often. or conversely, the beer i grab most often might not be the one i think is the absolute best beer, it’s just the easiest to drink or the one that fits more moods/situations. for right now, from all i have tasted, this would be my top 10:
we’ll see how these hold up over time. i mean, the trailblazer and irish red are not always available, so that might limit my ability to keep drinking them. and i might break down and order some samples from some of the breweries i’ve yet to try, so next list might be totally different.
here’s my top current wants that i haven’t tried yet:
there are a few others on the want list as new NAs keep appearing in the wild, but i’m pretty happy with what i’ve been able to sample so far. i sure hope when things return to more “normal” times that i can find some of this deliciousness on local bar/restaurant menus so i can stop stockpiling them at home – i only feel compelled to do so since they are all so hard to find. or maybe one (or more) of my local craft breweries will jump into the NA game. a girl can dream!
well, thanks to the dysfunction of the usps these days, it took nearly two weeks to get to me in new orleans from chicago (even with priority mail), but i finally poured my very first tasteNA sample from big drop brewing, their pine trail pale.
it’s funny how for most of my adult life, i have not enjoyed pale ales, IPAs or anything that has a strong hops bitterness to it. i’m usually much more of a dark beer fan, a lover of maltiness, sweetness, and caramel, chocolate, nut, and/or coffee undertones. but now that i’m drinking NAs, i’m finding i can tolerate hops more and actually enjoy it in some brews. i don’t think i’m gonna become a huge IPA fan anytime soon, as things labeled as such usually have much higher IBU than things simply labeled pale ale and i’m not that into the bitterness, but i’m happy to have more options.
so, this beer. it arrived earlier today, late morning, due to its detour and extended stay in a distribution center in southaven, MS, so it was only in the fridge for like 6-7 hours. but i couldn’t wait any longer! (my fridge is petty cold though.)
first of all, i love their can design and logo. the company is originally from the UK and has just recently started brewing and distributing here in the US, so it has a bit of a different “cool” look to it than a lot of the US NA brands. this should help them stand out on the shelves, for sure.
it poured a pretty pale yellow color but had minimal head. usually that would make me think it might be flat, but not in this case and really didn’t bother me visually. it had a fresh, floral aroma that was inviting. the carbonation and body of the beer was great, good mouthfeel – that addition of lactose really helps it to feel like a beer in my mouth. i get the pine, a little citrus (lime), and the hops bite is there, prominent but not overpowering. it’s light and crisp and paired nicely with my pasta dinner. i can see why it won a world beer award for style!
i would drink this again for sure, and now that i have an idea of the quality of their beer, i’m even more excited to try their galactic extra dark, which is basically a stout. thanks tasteNA for the chance to sample this! hopefully next time it won’t take 2 weeks to get to me!
no new NA beers to sample this weekend since the stump jump and cerveza atletica arrived, but i have plenty to keep me busy. (my kitchen floor is littered with NA beer stock cuz i can only fit so much in the fridge at one time!) i did end up buying a six pack of the partake pale at total wine as i liked it enough to want to drink more of it. they were out of a lot of things and didn’t have anything new, so that’s all i got.
my friend allison went out there and asked at customer service for them to order brew dog NAs, and they said they would. (i hope they get the wake up call and nanny state, though i’m sure she asked them for the ipas cuz that’s what she drinks.) so maybe that is the route i will take in the future, instead of trying to find the beer manager who never seems to be available when i go. i’m gonna make a list and ask them to order a bunch of stuff because it will be cheaper for me to buy from them than ordering it online. (they need to restock wellbeing amber and coffee cream stout, and add their victory wheat; i’d love it if they added bravus peanut butter stout and blonde to the other bravus beers they already carry; and it would be great to be able to sample NA offerings from untitled art (mostly interested in the chocolate stout), two roots (helles), sober carpenter (blonde, white, red), gruvi (peach pie ale, stout, lager, pale ale), big drop (pale and stout) and ceria (i’m interested in the belgian white but they also have an ipa that would probably do well). i know, it’s asking a lot. but if i don’t ask, they’ll probably never order it and i know all of those are carried at other total wines around the country so they shouldn’t have trouble getting them.
meanwhile, i always look at every new retail food/drink store i’m in to see what they have. this past week: target doesn’t carry ANY NA at all; neither does the random circle k by tulane, though they have a pretty extensive beer cooler; lakeview grocery had minimal macro offerings and the lagunitas IPNA was randomly stuck in the middle of the alcoholic section next to the other lagunitas stuff; and i went back in to rouses on carrollton just to see if i could find the beer buyer (wasn’t there). this pic below is of their sad NA section.
however, i do have several new brews on the way to me. i couldn’t resist ordering the athletic st. patrick’s day offering of an irish red, which is one of the pilot brews; i’m not a big red drinker but i’m looking for variety right now.
i also “discovered” rightside brewing, randomly, from a post in one of the NA fb groups i’m in. i’d heard the name before but hadn’t been curious until a link to an interview with the founder/owner was posted. turns out it’s a woman-owned brand and southern, out of atlanta, georgia. they have a great website with a blog that tells the story of the beer/company and offers inspirational and informational posts. how could i not support this business? so i immediately ordered a six pack of each of their citrust wheat and ipa, as they are smartly offering the two six packs = free shipping promotion that is quickly becoming the standard in the NA beer world. i’ll let ya know what I think when they get here.
the other thing that happened was that i reached out to bravus brewing‘s customer support after my experience revisiting their oatmeal stout left me confused as to whether my taste buds had just done an about face on their beer, or if it was a bad batch. they immediately wrote back, offering to give me a pre-paid return label if i’d send them back some of the beer in question. i’d bought two four packs so i tried some from both and both tasted off to me, so i sent back two of each. i mentioned how i was hoping to try some of their other beers (pb stout and blonde) and they offered to send me a free fresh mix pack of oatmeal, pb stout and blonde to try! now THAT’S customer service! so that is also on the way. i hope they don’t get the beers i sent back and tell me there is nothing wrong with them, cuz that would just mean a) my taste buds are wack, and b) i don’t like their beer. but i will remain hopeful until i try them.
ok, that’s all i got for this week. and yes, i am clearly obsessed at this point and this is becoming quite an expensive habit. but i’m also not spending nearly as much money as i used to on food and due to the pandemic i never go out and spend money in bars or restaurants or anywhere else, so i figure it’s ok for now. and at some point, when i’ve sampled all these beers, i will know which ones i like enough to want to keep on hand and it will be a much smaller number of beers. but for now it’s a fun adventure that takes my mind off this fucked up world we are living in and at least feels like a semi-healthy choice to be making in my recuperation.