Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Low End Theory

Oatmeal Stout is probably my favorite beer style. There's just something about it's overall smoothness mixed with it's typical sweetness that gets me every time, especially when said sweetness is countered with a nice dose of roasted malt flavor. So, when I saw a single bomber of Conspiracy Theory from Manchester Brewing Company sitting all by it's lonesome on the store shelf, I had to take it home.

This one is such a deep, dark brown color that you could almost call it black as night. A slightly creamy tan head tops the beer off, but subsides fairly quickly leaving bits of residue clinging to the sides of the glass. Not bad.

The aroma and flavor go pretty much hand in hand here: there's a good amount of sweet milk chocolate in the aroma, however it takes on more bitter characteristics in the flavor as it blends with coffee notes that are present but more subtle in the aroma. Darker fruit notes help to keep the sweetness alive throughout. I think I picked up some hints of licorice here and there, and there is also a fairly strong alcohol presence. You can sense it in the aroma and it definitely helps to accent any burnt or roasted malt flavoring. It actually makes the beer seem a bit "hot" at times, especially in the mouth feel, which is a bit thin at times for the style. I tend to associate a stronger alcohol presence with Imperial Stouts, and would much prefer a creamier, smoother body with an Oatmeal Stout.

This is a decent take on the style overall and is actually quite an easy beer to drink. It also gets bonus points because I finished off the bottle just as the World Champion New York Yankees were clinching their 27th World Series title. But seriously, it was an enjoyable stout in the end but I would definitely rein in the alcohol. Toning that down a bit and giving this one a bit more of a full body would take Conspiracy Theory from good to very good, but that's just my opinion. Still, I'm intrigued to try more from these guys, who I hadn't even heard of until this weekend as they are fairly new to the craft beer scene, brewing out of New Hampshire for only about a year or so now from what I can gather. Check out their stuff if you can.

Beer, Hopback, Manchester Brewing, New Hampshire, Conspiracy Theory, Oatmeal Stout