Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Beer Month: Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout

Not gonna lie, I was struggling a bit with finding a beer that I wanted to talk about for Winter Beer Month. Last year I profiled a couple of beers from a local brewery that are seasonal releases. I tried to find other seasonal brews I wanted to try but nothing was really struck me the right way. After thinking less about seasonal brews and more about what I drink in the winter, I came to the conclusion to focus on a local stout beer that is available year-round.

When the weather turns cold and rainy and I just want to come home and light/turn on a fire, I don’t reach for the Blue Moon or the IPA. Instead I find myself buying red ales and deep, rich stouts, so that is what you get to read about today. This winter I have fallen for the Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewery.

Right off the bat I noticed a nose that reminded me of being at a campfire. I love that sweet smell of a beach bonfire so this beer was naturally inviting to me. It poured slow and smooth which told me a little bit about how thick and rich this stout was going to be. The head was the color of a Brach’s caramel candy which was perfect as I began to notice a caramel aroma on the nose. The first thing I noticed when I took a sip was the lack of bitter aftertaste that I sometimes get with stouts. Upon further research I learned that Bear Republic uses Cascade and Centennial hops which tend to be more floral and aromatic. The caramel nose repeated as flavor and I found this beer to be incredibly smooth. Although it is a robust stout, it isn’t so thick that you couldn’t drink it with a variety of foods. I am really impressed with the balance of a rich, full body, but also so drinkable and smooth.  All those reasons make me happy that it is available all year long.

Brewery: Bear Republic Brewery
Style: Imperial Stout Rating: 93 Rating: 99
Serving: 22oz Bottle
ABV: 8.1%
 In Sonoma County we love our craft beer and we love even more when a brewpub is attached. Rather than your typical burgers, fries, and chicken wings, our brewpubs class it up with local artisan cheeses, seafood options, roasted garlic, and even duck burgers. Bear Republic Brewery is a prime example of this type of brewpub and is located in Healdsburg, CA. With the options for wineries, breweries, and good eats, Healdsburg has become one of my favorite cities and one I don’t spend nearly enough time in.  Located right off the Healdsburg Square, Bear Republic is a local, family owned operation and is a place to put on your bucket list for visiting Sonoma County.


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