Baker Company "Kitty" Coffee Whiskey Barrel Stout

From my recent trip to what turned out to be very rainy Asheville, NC, I was given this beer is a gift. I met the dog on the label, Kitty, and she's a working dog; she's a great little helper, and she loves to chew on antlers in her free time. I wasn't sure about going after another coffee beer, but I think I've learned enough about what I should be looking for in one of these. So maybe I won't toss this out before even try.

The very, very dark brown beer is pretty much as near as black as you would expect. There is quite a bit of sediment at the bottom of this bottle, yet the top sports almost no head. This is not unusual for beer that has been mixed with harder liquors. When I take a whiff, it's the hard liquor mixed with coffee. Yep, this is going to be very coffee. It may be too much.

First sip is certainly more coffee than I'd normally like in here, but it's not overwhelming right up front. Instead, there's bitterness and dryness of the harder alcohol through that beginning. Then, the bitterness of the coffee bites at the end. If I was a big fan of coffee, I may already be a big fan of this beer. As it is, I certainly don't hate it. But, trying to sip a beer that is as complex as this beer's name is an insult to the brewer. You need to swig.

Tip-in is coffee beans, earth, and a bit of vanilla. The middle is actually a very nice stretch into very light espresso across the top of the mouth with carbonation tingling while the earth and grains flow quietly down near the tongue; a sense of alcohol is definitely present right here in the middle. The finish hopes to catch you sleeping, as it brings very light coffee with a gentle bitterness and a dryness that is relatively unexpected.

Bottom Line: As I drink more this, I think I like it more. It's still coffee, but that's not all bad.



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