But the closest brew pub to my place, which offers some great suds, is Big Rig Brewery, near the IKEA at Pinecrest and Iris. For months, my Twitter friends and I would meet at Big Rig for Thursday Pints, a weekly gathering, but of late we've moved around a bit. I think that's a good idea, as we always look for locations that have good craft beer, and by moving around we can mix it up a bit.
And, while I think Big Rig's IPA is one of the best in the city, I find the majority of their other selections to be good, but nothing to get excited about. Sure, last fall's pumpkin stout was interesting, but it didn't leave me craving it. I didn't even add it to my review of the season's pumpkin ales.
So, when the brewery announced last week that it was releasing another seasonal, a milk stout, I immediately looked forward to it, but had some reservations. I approached the pub, hopeful, but was determined not to set myself up for disappointment.
You see, I love milk stouts. My favourite milk stout, by The Duck Rabbit, is not only my favourite milk stout but is also my favourite beer. Ever.
I also love the milk stout by Québec microbrewers, Charlevoix, so I have expectations when it comes to milk stout. Big Rig had some pretty big boots to fill.
Double-Chocolate Milk Stout (6.5% ABV)Appearance: deep walnut with a taupe head that dissipates to a fine lace.
Big Rig Brewery
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Nose: because the beer was served cold... far too cold for a stout... the nose was closed, but I could, over time, detect faint traces of chocolate.
Palate: dark chocolate and coffee with a creaminess that doesn't particularly exude richness but is easy-drinking. A raisin finish, almost like sour hops, that is typical with the other milk stouts I've had. The finish ends somewhat watery.
Overall impression: I really had trouble tasting this stout and it all came down to the fact that it was too cold. I suppose that if I waited long enough, the warming would have brought out more in the nose and on the palate. But being that I was sharing company over just the one pint, as I assume many people will experience with visiting a brew pub, I didn't have the time to wait, nor did I feel that anyone should wait so long after receiving a drink to actually enjoy it.
It took me more than a half an hour to finish this pint, and with every sip I held it in my mouth, hoping it would warm enough to pull flavour. There is good chocolate and coffee, but I was disappointed about the thin finish.
It's a good effort, but I wanted more.
If you like stouts, chocolate stouts, or milk stouts, this seasonal is worth trying. If you drool at the prospect of a great milk stout, this one, while good, is a bit disappointing for the temperature and finish.