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Monday, June 3, 2013

Pipeworks Brewery's End of Days

  • Style: Milk Stout
  • ABV: 8.20%
  • Season: Rotating.  But it's Pipeworks, what did you expect?  My batch number was #128 which according to Pipeworks  was bottled on 5/2/13
  • Color: Dark chocolate brown with no light even around the edges
  • Head: Not quite 1 finger beige head that settled almost immediately.  Miniscule lacing
  • Aroma: Strong chocolate notes, a bit of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee as well.  Sort of like a Mexican hot chocolate that will get you buzzed
  • Mouthfeel: Medium with lots of carbonation.  Not as lush or creamy as I was expecting, but still worked with the flavor profile.
  • Finish: Short-ish.  The beer flavor fades very quickly on the tongue, but the spice note lingers like the last guy at a party who wants to go home, but feels like he should stay to repair the damage
  • Food friendly:  Eh?  Like many milk stouts, not particularly.  The spice note in the flavor profile doesn't help with main dish pairing, but would make an interesting addition to a summer desert.  I'd serve it with a dish of creamy ice cream (try Dulce De Leche or Raspberry), with a a plate of strawberry shortcake or even a simple bowl of fresh berries. 

A year ago Mayans were the new Nostradamus (I know that the Mayans predated some bearded Euro dude by almost thirteen hundred years.  Don't get technical on me.)  Everyone was speculating/ scaring themselves silly like a midnight screening of Paranormal Activity.  You couldn't go any where (and by anywhere I mean Facebook) without hearing about the coming End of Days that was supposedly predicted on the Mayan calendar for December 2012.  Personally, I felt that if the umpteenth renewal for Two and a Half Men wasn't enough of an indicator that the end was coming, nothing could be.   Some people actually believed that we might fall into a black hole at the center of the galaxy (I suspect that Walmart might have been in on this scheme.)   Or that Earth would collide with a  planet named Nibiru  (which I sort of support because it would at least definitely put an end to Two and a Half Men for once and for all.  I understand that they don't have Neilson boxes on Nibiru.)

                                                                                                         Joel always speaks the truth.  Even when it hurts.

Pipeworks brewed a version of a classic milk stout with a bit of a Mayan twist in honor of our new neighbors/overlords  on planet Nibiru.  Imagine a typical milk stout with the expected flavors of chocolate, vanilla and coffee, but kicked up a notch by the addition of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  Mexican hot chocolate beer.  Genius.
Very little head.  A similar look to what the radioactive mutants will sport after the world ends.  Although they may have two.
My End of Days poured a dark, almost murky, chocolate brown brew.  There was no light shine through, even when held up to the sun (as I expect a Mayan might have done when presented with a  pint.)  A beige, filmy, one finger head rose and almost immediately settled out of existence (hmmm...sort of apocalyptic, right?)  There really wasn't any lacing to speak of, maybe tiny patches on the glass just above the surface of the drink.  The aroma more than made up for the lack of foam, however. Right away I could smell the chocolatey wonder of coco nibs on the nose.  A subtle bit of vanilla helped to round out the sweetness and transitioned nicely into the light coffee aroma.  Since this was definitely a milk stout and not a coffee or breakfast stout, the coffee took a backseat to the lactose note.  A hint of cinnamon and heat brought up the rear of the nose, reminding me that this was not your ordinary milk stout.  The taste was very similar to the nose.  The first and dominate flavor was that of a milk chocolate, slightly bittered by the taste of coffee (I'd make an educated guess of around 20-25 IBUs.)  The vanilla that was present on the nose comes across as the lactose sweetness that you'd expect from a traditional milk stout.  A bit of cinnamon danced around the flavor profile too.  What really made me sit up and take notice was on the back end of the swallow.  The promised heat from a hit of red pepper spice emerged (and became more prominent as the beer warmed.)  It wasn't overpowering by any means. I kind of thought of it as one might of a large honking nose on an otherwise nondescript face.  It gave the ordinary some welcomed character.  The mouthfeel was moderate, not overly creamy or lush but still stout-like.  A good amount of carbonation helped to cut the sweetness as well.  The finish was less than I expected, but since the back of the swallow had a bit the heat from the peppers on it, I understand why they choose to make it short.  As it was, the hit of heat made the finish interesting instead of overwhelming.   

Minute 1

Minute 1:20.  When it's over, it's over.

 Milk stouts aren't easy to pair with most main meal foods.  They do, however, go wonderfully with  many deserts.  I would serve Pipeworks End of Days alongside a bittersweet chocolate cherry sorbet with fresh cherry compote .  The tartness of the cherries, the sweetness of the milk stout and the heat from the chili peppers would just make your mouth sing (most likely something like this.  Maybe not.)   You could also serve it with a simple desert such as grilled pound cake with mixed berry hobo packs.  Sliced pound cake, fresh berries and tinfoil.  What could be easier?   The end of the world may still be coming (someday.  Everything ends eventually.  My best guess is it'll happen the same time as the Simpsons goes off the air.) But until it does, at least we have some tasty beers to wile away our days with.   Well played, Mayans.