- Style: Imperial Milk Stout (have there ever been such a glorious string of random words?)
- ABV: 10%
- Ease to locate: Released in the end of February (my batch # was 126/127) but I've still seen bombers on shelves at various places. Look around. Or just check out this beer menu link for it
- Color: Deep brown with slight golden tones
- Head: One finger tan foam with little staying power and slight, spotty lacing
- Aroma: Lactose sugar sweetness, milk chocolate, hint of espresso and true vanilla note. Really wonderful nose
- Mouthfeel: Full body, creamy & velvety but still plenty of carbonation
- Finish: Long. Mostly chocolate and coffee note, but a bit of heat lingering at the end (which also mellows out nicely as it sits)
- Food friendly: I'm going to go with ice cream. Vanilla. Chocolate. Carmel Crunch. Spin the wheel and take your pick. It's all good. If you like beer and you like desserts, this is the brew for you.
Apple User's Link: I could watch this scene all day and twice on Sundays
Winter is coming. Actually, winter has come, went, come back and, like a third cousin who shows up for Thanksgiving but hangs out until New Years and won't go the frak away. But what is finally here is the fourth season of the additive TV show, Game of Thrones. I love GoT. Dragons. Smart alec dwarfs. Some guy who just says "Hodor" all the time (we all know somebody like that, right? And if you can't think of anyone in particular right off the bat, you may want to expand your own vocabulary a wee bit just to hedge your bets.) I'm also reading the George R.R. Martin books that make up the series. I'm all ready to start book four as soon as the current season has finished, because I think that having two GoT stories running through my head at the same time might result in a cerebral black hole of some sort. Well, at least that's the working theory. Anyway, I've been looking forward to the show's premier for weeks now. Something as monumental as that deserves a special beer to drink while watching, right? And since I don't have any sour brown ale (the Westros craft drink of choice apparently) in the house I'm very glad that Pipeworks Brewing Company has my back covered.
My Game of Jones poured a deep, tree bark like brown with pretty golden tones. There was no black in it, just various degrees of brown. A slight, dark tan half a finger head rose and with in a few minutes, fell to the beer's surface. A minute or so after that, there was absolutely no head left to speak of, just a tight ring of bubbles around the snifter. Think of it as the Ned Stark of foam. The lacing was spotty and took a swirl or two to produce. But the nose more than made up for any shortcomings. I immediately smelled the sweet lactose milk sugar and milk chocolate notes. There was also a nice showing of vanilla and roasted malt with just a hint of bitter espresso. It was an extremely tasty sort of nose. On my first swallow, the milk chocolate, almost fudge like in flavor, hit me like a ton of Willy Wonka bricks (some day I will explain exactly why Willy Wonka is an evil parental properganda film used to frighten little girls into not eating all of their Halloween candy. But not today.). The sweet milk was very present as was a distinct note of vanilla. Often vanilla is used in brewing like it is in baking, as a way to enhance other flavors in the recipe. Here, it was it's own character and really helped to keep all the sweetness from becoming cloying. A very slight bitterness from the roasted malt & the espresso also assisted in balancing out the stout. I could have sworn that I tasted a cherry note on the very end of the swallow, but that could have been the booze talking. The body was full and velvety, gently coating the tongue. The abundant carbonation was a welcome presence, helping to dry out the body just a bit (this was not a dry sort of stout at all. I'm merely saying that the fizziness kept the beer from being to thick or syrupy.) Heavy is nice, but so is a conversation with Hodor until you realize that he's been talking smack about you for the last twenty minutes without you realizing it. I loved the finish. Long, smooth and mostly chocolately with a mellow warmth from the alcohol. This is an imperial milk stout that really benefited from sitting out for a bit. As the beer warmed in my glass, it opened gorgeously, becoming this smooth, balanced glass of goodness fit for whom ever ultimately sits on the Iron Throne (Go Daenerys!)
Milk stouts can be tricky to pair with main meal foods. An imperial milk stout is more trouble than it's worth to make it work with a meal. Why not instead embrace the desert aspect of Pipework's Game of Jones and serve it alongside a bowl of homemade Mocha Latte Ice Cream and let the ice cream bring out the slight espresso flavor in the stout? Or pair it it with a few scoops of Cherry Bourbon Ice Cream and let the tartness of the fruit offset the milk chocolate sweetness of the beer. Either way, you're eating ice cream and drinking beer. It's all good. Now if you happen to be eating your ice cream and drinking your Game of Jones on Sunday nights, a friendly reminder is to make sure that you carefully place your glass and bowl on a table right next to you as you watch Game of Thrones. You see, I've read through Book Three and well, without spoiling anything, you definitely need to be prepared. Valar Morghulis indeed.