Although it’s up for debate, coffee and alcohol can be very addictive substances. Addictive in the sense, that we crave one prior and one after a long day of work or a stressful workweek. I guess work can be a correlate of our addictions, but alas, causation cannot be directly determined. When taken in the appropriate amounts though, they provide bountiful pleasures to ones mind and body. When taken in inappropriate amounts, things can start to get real shitty, real fast. Pun intended. A poop joke, what did you expect…I’m getting ready to talk about Against the Grain!
So before I headed down to Kentucky Lake for 3 days of fishing, I swung into Against the Grain Brewery to snag a growler of Heine Big Bro (13% ABV at $13 a growler), their new imperial oatmeal stout. Here is how the fellas at ATG describe the beer:
Louisville roasted Heine Bros. espresso was hot extracted pre-fermentation, and Mary Catherine’s blend was cold extracted and added post-fermentation to give this beer an aggressive bitterness as well as a delicate yet pronounced coffee flavor and aroma. We started this imperial oatmeal stout with a massive amount of high quality Maris Otter malt and added an array of specialty malts including oats, roasted barley, and very dark caramel munich. Hefty additions of British hops early in the boil make for a powerful bitterness to balance the high malt sweetness. If your soul stays black, even in the sun, this beer is for you.
The worst part about heading to a majority of the bodies of water in Kentucky, especially Western KY, is that a decent amount of counties are “dry”. Knowing this, I always plan ahead and bring my own share of beer and some extras to share with the rest of the fishing guys to try to introduce them to craft beer. I will acknowledge that these guys are your typical Light beer drinking blue-collar guys, but they tend to always imbibe in the “strong” beer that I bring to test their pallets. So I cracked open the Hill Farmstead growler and poured the beer into the best-looking beer glass the lower-rate hotel had to offer. Now that I think about it, I should have brought my own glass…and slept on top of the covers.
Potent stuff. Coffee and bitterness were the first things which came to mind, followed by a slight roast characteristic.
Guy 1: “Whatcha drinking there, mind if I get some”
Me: “Nope. Go for it.”
Guy 2: “Hey man, can I get some of that too”
Guy 3: “Let me try some. Did you make this stuff?”
Me: “Nope, it’s from Against the Grain Brewery. It’s the new brewery in Slugger Field. Good stuff man, you should check it out. The owners are pretty cool.
Guy 1: “This is powerful stuff. You can really taste the coffee in the beer. That’s crazy.”
Guy 2: “Oh man, what do you call this stuff again. Stout?”
One glass went down way to quick. I quickly poured another and noted my growler was about half gone. The coffee bitterness stick to my tongue like a metal pole in the winter. On the second glass, the smooth chocolate taste came out from the roasted barley and oats. For 13%, the booze factor isn’t apparent…hidden quite well. Although ATG’s London Balling is tough to beat as far as my favorite beer of theirs goes, Heine Big Bro comes in a close second. If it’s still on tap, head down to there to check it out.
By the time I went to pour myself a third glass, the growler was empty. Mission accomplished, I’ve helped spread the word of good beer…and got a slight buzz while doing it.