Hub Survival Stout

My brother and his lovely bride send me a care package from Oregon. I grabbed the first one that was on the shelf without looking, and I now see that it is a "malt beverage with coffee added." As a man who never acquired the taste for coffee, I hope I can still judge the beverage as a beer. I really like the name - Survival Stout. I'd rather that it be put on an oatmeal stout or something similar that has a lot of meat to it, but I get the fact that a lot of people are pretty well addicted to coffee. I will try to be objective here.

The color is a deep ruby to the point of near blackness. The sticky head recedes quickly enough that I can top off a couple of times before the beer is at the right temperature. The aroma is coffee grounds and malt (mostly coffee grounds). I think the reason I'm getting grounds instead of actual coffee is because the malt is very earthy in its own right, and it's playing with the smell quite a bit.

First sip is 50 shades of coffee grounds. Not being an expert at coffee, I don't know if it's good coffee, but I can guess that it is, based on the beer's origin city of Portland. It's a fairly bitter beer. The malt is not doing a whole lot to counter the coffee's bitterness. I had expected the usual stout milkiness to really kick in to make this more like an actual cup of coffee, but that doesn't happen in a sip. I'm going in for a proper draught.

Tip-in is light carbonation burn and the distinct sense of something like seltzer water. The flavor is right there - like a zest with nothing behind it. The middle comes with a lot more depth than I expected. I really thought this was going to be a mouthful of coffee, but the middle is beer. It has the characteristic light hops and smokey malt of a stout. I can even pick up oatmeal and barley in the wisps between swallows. All the while, the carbonation hits the top of the mouth with a tingle. Then the finish hits with a hard handful of coffee grounds. It's bitter, and it sits in the mouth long after the rest of the beer has said goodbye.

Bottom Line: I'm not a fan of coffee, but if I was this might be a go-to beer.

2.75/5

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