Video by: Gabe Pocrass, CTV 11.
For this week’s beer review, it is going to be a little bit different. I sat down with Left Hand Brewing Company Beer Cicerone, Tony Saccomanno. The whole basis of this interview was to get the ins-and-outs of how to drink beer properly. And yes, I recorded it so that all of you can watch it and stop being beer-drinking rookies. You’re welcome! Tony and I covered everything from analyzing the appearance of a beer to discovering the true taste and smell of a beer. It was pretty eye opening I must say.
We actually reviewed two different beers of the same style in order to best illustrate their differences. And for this, we chose the Stout. The first beer was Left Hand Milk Stout (nitro), which is an extremely popular beer and is considered the staple for Left Hand Brewing Company. The second beer was called “Fade to Black” and it is a winter seasonal that Left Hand makes that has won the Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival for best Foreign Stout three years in a row. Both of these beers are very good and I was honored to drink them.
While I am not going to teach you how to drink beer properly, I am going to tell you to just watch the video. There is a long version and a short version. You can find both those videos on the Collegian website and the CTV 11 YouTube page. It is not terribly long, it’s entertaining and you’ll learn a lot. I recommend that you check it out.
For Left Hand Milk Stout, overall, the three main aromas and flavors are coffee (a mocha or latte type of coffee), milk chocolate and sweet-condensed milk (cream). I smelled the same characteristics I tasted in the beer, which left it simple, yet, simply perfect. I detected the coffee taste toward the end more than at the beginning, but that was quite nice. The coffee flavor also created a slight bitterness characteristic to the beer (not like a hoppy bitterness) but that was a positive thing as well because it helped make the beer more dynamic. Overall, I gave this beer an 8.5 out of 10 while The Mayor of Old Town gave it an 8.6 out of 10.
As far as “Fade to Black” goes, this beer was very different from Left Hand Milk Stout. It had a heavy chocolate profile also; however, it was dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. Also, it was an authentic or baker’s chocolate type of taste, which gave it a slight bitterness that was actually quite delicious and refreshing. In the smell, you could detect a cherry aroma, and you could taste it as well, but I got more smell than taste in that cherry profile. And lastly, there was a smoky or roasty flavor that brought it all together. These three flavors worked very well together and because of this beer’s uniqueness and fun drinking experience, I gave it an 8.7 out of 10. The Mayor of Old Town gave it an 8 out of 10.
Collegian Beer Reviewer Gabe Pocrass can be reached online at email@example.com or on Twitter at @GPocrass.