Stouts and porters are my go-to beer. They are flavourful, complex, and they are more comforting than a hand-knit throw. I like to think that there is a St Bernard wandering through the Alps with a tiny cask of stout around its neck, prepped to help lost skiers and others who need a pick-me-up. If I were lost in the mountains I would like a fluffy dog to bring me a dark beer. Come to think of it, that’s all I have ever wanted.
With no dog trained to deliver stouts to me, I had to go out and find Saugatuck Brewing Company‘s Blueberry Maple Stout on my own. A couple months ago I brought a bottle of Fernie Brewing Company‘s Sap Sucker Maple Porter back with me from a road-trip through southern British Columbia and now I am looking to see how Saugatuck stacks up.
Appearance: The beer pours nearly black, letting very little light make its way through the glass. There is about two fingers of beige head, which quickly dissipates, leaving some lacing on the glass.
Aroma: There is a sweetness to this beer that is evident as soon as you pop the cap off the bottle. There are some roasted malt notes, but what comes though more than anything else is the beer’s namesake: maple and blueberry.
Taste: This is what breakfast would taste like if you had beer for breakfast. Maple, blueberries, coffee, with 6% ABV thrown in for good measure. There is some roast malt flavour and a bit of cocoa. There is a very noticeable sweetness that is very nice at first, but I could see it becoming somewhat sickly after a short while.
Feel: A smooth, mid-bodied stout. There is a not a whole lot of carbonation, but there is enough to carry the style.
Overall: My problem with a lot of flavoured beers is that the flavour either overwhelms the beer or it is so faint that there is no sense adding in the adjunct. This is part of the reason I try to steer clear of pumpkin beer every fall. Saugatuck manages to walk a pretty fine line between a heavy handed flavour attack and a misnomer on the label. You aren’t assaulted by the flavours promised on the bottle, but they are definitely present and they are sure to introduce themselves to anyone who takes the time to say hello. As always the true test of a beer is if you would want to drink one again, and I would absolutely get this again, with some reservation. One bottle is enough. This is not something I want to drink a six-pack of, the sweetness would be too much for me if I were to have more than one. It reminds me of summer mornings spent at the cottage when I would wake up to noise in the kitchen and the smell of pancakes on the grill, and now that feeling has been put in a bottle. But, like pancakes, this should be kept to a ‘sometimes’ treat and not something that should be put into regular rotation.