Bell's Special Double Cream Stout
- Product Reviewed: Bell's Special Double Cream Stout
- Brewed By: Kalamazoo Brewing Company; Kalamazoo, Michigan
- Review By:David Brockington
- Original Posted to Usenet: June 19, 1996
Kalmazoo Brewing Company
315 East Kalamazoo Ave.
This review marks my return to this business following a four-month
hiatus. During the summer months I plan to plow through as many of
my back notes as possible, hopefully informing rfdb readers as well as
visitors to my little corner of The Brewery.
Bells has an excellent reputation as a brewer of distinctive
beers in an era when the trend in the craft-brewing industry seems to
be motivated more and more by the bottom line. We live with the legacy
created when accountants ran breweries rather than brewers: fewer
and blander beers aimed at offending as few people as possible (resulting
in, to paraphrase Jackson, little to excite anybody.) The craft beer
movement was supposed to offer an alternative to this by producing
distinctive beers covering a wide variety of styles. Unfortunately,
from my vantage in the Pacific Northwest, this goal seems to have been lost
by many of the early pioneers. Really, how many variations of Widmer
Hefe-Weizen Pyramid Apricot Ale, or Saxer Lemon Lager do we really need?
A respite from my marketing-based gloom is found in the occasional
new brewery established by visionaries and romantics dedicated to the beer
that they create rather than the ability to move larger and larger quantities
of "product," or in those existing breweries that have become financially
stable and continue to brew inspired beers. Bells falls into this category.
Late last summer an internet acquaintance (and Political Scientist
ending a one-year appointment to the University of Michigan) initiated a
correspondence with me, one result being a box of Kalamazoo beer being shipped
to my house. Having tried Bell's once before, I knew that they were good.
I eagerly consumed most of the beer in the box over the next week or so,
taking notes on each one.
The Double Cream Stout poured unsurprisingly opaque black in my glass,
yielding a thick, rich deep-tan head that remained during the entire
This beer has an incredible aroma. A deep malty aroma suggests
a flavor profile highlighted by malty flavors. Chocolate notes add
a very nice sophisticating presence to the bouquet.
The profile of this beer is not as malty-thick as the aroma
would predict. The distinct flavor of chocolate malt opens up the
tasting experience, and carries the beer through a slight roastiness
(roasted barley perhaps?) and a lingering hop bitterness.
A creamy stout, as the name would suggest. What made this beer
especially enjoyable was its distinctive maltiness, which was not crowded
by patent astringency, an overreliance on roasted barley, or an eager
use of hopping. This is an excellent interpretation of cream stout, and
simply a distinctive, enjoyable pint.
Copyright 1996 by David Brockington, all rights reserved;
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