I’ve long wondered about the influence that a beer’s name would have on one’s expectations of its inside. Do beers with aggressive names get more aggressive reviews? Are beers with milder names expected to have milder contents?
I should have read this one. I was standing in a Whole Foods in Portland, looking at a display that included Stone, Weyerbacher, Allagash and more than a few cage-top/corked brews of various strengths and specialties. Without looking down, I grabbed the Weyerbacher I didn’t recognize and brought it home. I had assumed that I’d soon get a taste of its contents and discover what “Tiny” was all about.
Thinking (mistakenly) that it might be a session brew because of its name (I was remembering my confusion at Anchor “Small” Beer) I didn’t rush to drink it. It was only until I was deciding what to try tonight that I actually took a moment to read the label.
“Belgian-Style IMPERIAL STOUT”
So this 11.8% decidedly non-session beer poured into a glass was the color of root beer, with brown head that rose and fell like a brewpot threatening to boil over its edges. The smell on the cork immediately hit my nose with vanilla, chocolate, and burbon. It had an intoxicating, seductive scent that I wish I could bottle up. It smelled like a fine chocolate maybe with a hint of espresso or fresh vanilla beans.
The first impression I had on the taste was that it was very warming – it seemed to reach into the cockles of my soul and make me feel like I was curled up next to a warm camp fire. There is a little bit of raisin and coffee in the taste, but it is mostly a chocolate/boozy sweetness that is all too pleasant. This would have been very romantic and perfect for Valentines day if I had known what it was. Each sip was an indulgence, and it was something that made me like it even more with each sip. There is a bit of sediment in the bottle and that does bring a bit of the Belgian flavor forward, but it’s quickly outdone by the alcohol left on this beer.
I agree with some reviewers out there that this seems almost too sharp, too young, to be savored right away. I am going to buy another bottle and put it away for a few months and see what that does, though I have no regrets from trying this and I urge you to as well. It is a treat, and there is nothing “tiny” about this beer.