Yesterday was an excellent start to this year’s advent calendar. I really enjoyed the Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale and I hope that it’s going to be the tone for the entire calendar. This morning I got out of bed early and went right to the calendar to grab my beer. The tabs are a little small and my hands don’t really fit, so I asked my wife to assist. Lo and Behold the second beer of the 2015 Calendar is a Lighthouse Brewing Co.’s Black Sam Licorice Stout. For full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of black licorice. I’ll give this beer the benefit of the doubt but I may end up not liking it just because of that.
First off let me say that Lighthouse Brewing has a really fun website. I am really impressed with the design if not the content. So, I’d suggest you check it out. Also, they posted a video of one of the crew talking a bit about the beer. Check it out here.
Now, Lighthouse was founded in 1998 and is located on Devonshire Road in Victoria BC. When founded, the demand for small batch craft beer was not really where it is today. Brewing a Race Rocks Ale in the early days and delivering them to local pubs, Lighthouse quickly garnered a name for quality, local beer in a time when generic brands were king.
Lighthouse is made up of a crew of passionate people of which they don’t really provide much information. Passion is a trademark behind the brewing at Lighthouse and they have a number of really interesting beers. Besides their house series of beers, they also have an explorer series (of which the Licorice Stout is a member) as well as an uncharted series (currently just an Imperial IPA). Check out their full beer line-up here.
The beer that we have from Lighthouse today is one that has only recently been released in BC. It’s also only available are certain private beer stores. So, it’s one that I may not have a chance to try again for quite a while. I’m excited.
Stouts are a dark beer made using roasted malts or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Traditionally the term stout was used to describe the strongest (most alcoholic) porters, typically around 7-8%, produced by a brewery. The reason for the name ‘stout’ was because these strong porters were often sold in stouter bottles than the standard porters. This gave them the nickname ‘stout’ which eventually became the term used to describe the style of beer.
There are numerous styles of stouts ranging from Dry Stouts, to Porters, and Oyster stouts and my favorite Imperial Stouts. While they had lost popularity in the early 20th century after the First World War, they have started to have a bit of an upswing due to the growing popularity in craft beer and breweries. Stouts are very versatile allowing for a lot of creativity in adjuncts and flavouring and you can see a number of craft breweries doing stouts quite regularly. Stouts also often age well making them a wonderful cellaring beer. Without any further ado, my impression of Lighthouse’s Licorice Stout.
Appearance – Abysmal Black with no head (May just be my bottle).
Smell – Smells like licorice allsorts with a hint of chocolate.
Taste – Coffee and chocolate malt on the front with a sweet candy flavour finish.
Mouth feel – Coats the tongue, soft mouthfeel, low carbonation,
Overall – Flavourful stout with strong malt flavours and a good sweet finish. Not overly sweet. A good stout for someone who maybe doesn’t drink stouts often or is new to stouts. Not an overly heavy stout.
Do I like it? – I did like it. It was an all-around good stout that I would enjoy drinking on a cold Winnipeg winter day/evening. I’d definitely buy this, but I wasn’t blown out of the water.