"Nevermore"

Friday, April 27, 2007

Today's offering makes we wax poetic:

A long time ago, way back in history,
when all there was to drink was nothin but cups of tea.
Along came a man by the name of Charlie Mops,
and he invented a wonderful drink and he made it out of hops.

He must have been an admiral a sultan or a king,
and to his praises we shall always sing.
Look what he has done for us he's filled us up with cheer!
Lord bless Charlie Mops, the man who invented beer beer beer
tiddly beer beer beer.

I like that poem a lot better than the one this beer is named after:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'
Today's offering, and the reason for poetry and beer, is New Holland's The Poet.
New Holland, in Holland, Michigan, has since changed their label to include a raven perched on a "pallid bust." Just so there's no confusion about which poet they meant. Why Edgar Allen Poe? Because this is a deep, dark, thick stout.

This beer has excellent head retention, pouring a chunky 2-finger tan head, leaving a thin but healthy lace. The beer itself is nearly black, with gorgeous glowing garnet highlights.

The scent is terrific. Up front, there is a lovely creamy malt aroma with bare hints of a woody charcoal (like a fireplace late in the night after it's gone out) and a bitter bakers chocolate.

The taste is so interesting. There is a nice crispness to the beer, most likely from the judicious (not copious) amount of oatmeal. It meets well with a full-bodied, silky-smooth mouthfeel. There is the perfect balance of sweetness from the malt with and a mild char tang of roasted coffee and dark chocolate emerge. The hop bitterness is just enough for balance; really, the bitterness comes mostly from the dark roasted barley. It finishes with a very fine smoked flavor. Delicious the way it just sits on the palate, urging another quaff.

This is by far one of the best stouts of the non-specialty brews I can think of (meaning a basic style without "oak aging" or "burbon barrels" or "ingredient X"). It has all of the elements of a great oatmeal stout, from well-balanced big flavors to the silken mouthfeel unique to the style.

Some oatmeal stout history: Its history dates back to the mid- to late 1800s, with the discovery that adding oats to beer made it healthier. This new creation was often considered a table beer and prescribed to nursing mothers and ailing children, and believed to be a remedy for sickness in general.

What separates the Oatmeal Stout from other stouts is a simple addition of oats. Oats will make up only a small amount, less than 10%, of the total grain bill. This helps to avoid problems in the brewing process due to its thick consistency when it is hydrated -- a big bowl of oatmeal, anyone? It makes a big pile of mush in your kettle and fermenter.

Oatmeal Stouts also tend to be sweeter than the other stouts which comes not from the oatmeal, as many people think, but from the amount of malt used and the use of a yeast strain that doesn't consume too much of the sugars. This leaves a great balance between the roasted character of the dark roasts (which make a stout) and sweetness, while the oats add to the silky smoothness and cause the body to be fuller than normal.

15 comments:

red, white and brew 3:20 PM  

I cannot believe I took advice from a pinko, but I actually drank a Dragonsmead, Erik the Red recently and wasn't bad for a fu-fu beer.

Smitty 3:24 PM  

Latent communist tendancies aside, I do like Erik the Red.

But if you want a man's beer...one that makes other people afraid and weak...one that makes people cut-and-run...try Founders Backwoods Bastard. Not for the weak.

red, white and brew 3:27 PM  

Damn, you post fast.

Sitting at home collecting a welfare check?

Smitty 3:29 PM  

Ha ha. No; I'm in my office bilking taxpayers. SOrt of like you're in your office screwing your company out of productivity.

red, white and brew 3:46 PM  

Ah, welfare check, government worker. Same thing.

Maybe you should consider starting your own business and quit working of our dime. Self made men have a little more pride and sense. Then maybe you will learn the ways of the world and leave your liberal and latent homosexual tendencies behind.

Smitty 4:27 PM  

Very insightful RWB. How are those views working in the minority?

red, white and brew 7:42 AM  

Conservatives will always be the majority of the people. It's the media that distorts our views and sways the election.

Smitty 1:46 PM  

Who knew the media had such sway. Maybe the majority of Americans, then, are neither liberal nor conservative. Maybe they're mostly lemmings.

steves 2:59 PM  

While the media does tend to be biased on certain topics, most of the research I have seen suggests that the number of people calling themselves conservative is fairly close to the number of people that call themselves liberal. This has been true for at elast 50 years. A good many people claim to not care or be independent, which is why a party that wants to win courts their votes.

B Mac,  9:06 AM  

Just a few thoughts...

- The Poet is a nice stout (had it a couple of times), but damn it's dark.

- Unless I am mistaken, RWB, Smitty does work in the private sector.

- If conservatives are the majority in the country, then either (a) they didn't bother to vote this year, (b) they voted for Democrats, or (c) they went, tried to vote for Republicans, and couldn't figure out how the voting thingy worked (if you're curious, my money is on a combination of (a) and (c)).

Colin 9:38 AM  

Poet is an Awesome Stout! I'm glad to hear you thought so highly of it Noah!

Personally, New Holland is one of my favorite breweries, and I think is WAY under-acclaimed. I have yet to be disappointed by a beer they've brewed, and have been wowed by many of them!

I picked up a bottle of Lucid from NHBC last night, their new Kolsch. Scores well on BA, I cant wait to try it! Also a bottle of Existential, I can't wait to try them!

Smitty, have you had Double Crooked Tree DIPA yet? You gotta get some if you haven't!

ps, the word verification on blogger sucks, it always thinks I get it wrong!

Colin 9:39 AM  

and sorry, this is not a political "discussion" I feel like joining...

but for what it's worth, I voted Libertarian, and will continues to do so!

B Mac,  12:09 PM  

New Holland does craft some fine brews. The selection they brought to the Winter Beer Fest in Lansing this year was outstanding. And as a hop-head, I was a huge fan of the Crooked Tree Double IPA.

If you like the heavy IPAs, you might want to try Founders Devil Dancer. It's a surprisingly drinkable Triple IPA, and is great for bemoaning intrusive government fatcats and petitioning for lower taxes.

Smitty 3:36 PM  

Colin:

BIG big fan of Double Crooked Tree DIPA. Huge fan. I'd drink it as much as possible.

By the way...send me your email on Beer Advocate, if you would. Thanks.

Mike 6:36 AM  

Mmmmm. A good stout, huh?

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