Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the weekend past.
After weeks of warm weather and the barest threat of autumn, Los Angeles finally cooled off! As the temperature falls our desire for thick, rich imperial stouts rises, and we’ve just about fallen in love with the new offering in New Belgium Brewing’s Lips of Faith line.
Last Thursday was International Stout Day, and the timing could not have been better. LA had started to cool off, a little rain was falling, and with the time change darkness falls heavy and fast. By the weekend there was an actual chill in the air, and after sampling a few stouts during Thursday’s festivities I was ready for some more of the roasty darkness.
The Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout was exactly what I was looking for. The beer, from New Belgium’s specialty line, is decadently flavored with dark chocolate and coffee from a local Colorado roaster. It smells nearly identical to a cup of joe, and the coffee dominates the flavors of the first sip. The finish is balanced between tart and bitter with dark chocolate lingering on the palate. It is an intense and delicious brew; yet another hit from the Lips of Faith (and one of the best labels of the year in my opinion.)
Don’t Try This At Home
One more beer deserves a mention here, though it’s inclusion is more warning than recommendation. Danish brewer Mikkeller is known for crazy ideas and perhaps none more so than his series of “1000 IBU” beer. I had the chance to try the American Pale Ale entry 1000 IBU Light Ultramate and I decided to sacrifice my tongue for SCIENCE. Hop heads are a demanding bunch who, like addled junkies, demand more and more potent fixes; I love hops too, but I generally value balance and subtly in my beer over sheer bitterness. The 1000 IBU was a unique experience, and I’m not anxious to repeat it.
The beer is extremely light in body, and at under 5%ABV there is not hope to balance out the “theoretical” 1000 IBUs worth of alpha acids in the ale. Any malt flavors, or actual hop flavors for that matter, are utterly bowled-over by the crushing wave of tongue-shriveling bitterness. It doesn’t taste like a pale ale as much as it tastes like chewing on aspirin tablets. The acrid stinging bitterness lingered in the back of my mouth for nearly an hour before I was able to quash it with a pastrami sandwich. I’m happy to have tried it, but I cannot recommend you do the same.