Hi-Wire Irish Stout

I recently visited the Hi-Wire brewery, and I sampled quite a few of their beers. One that I didn't bother trying was the Irish Stout, as I knew I had some sitting in my fridge at home, waiting to be reviewed. Yes, even when I'm away from this computer, I have your concerns about my objectivity at heart. Also, they had a lot of other very good beers for me to try.

The beer is black with a very deep red hue. The head is pretty minimal, and it leaves not more than a dusting on top of the deep black beer. The aroma is strong roasted oats and wood with a sprinkling of vanilla and molasses sweetening the deal. While very few Irish stouts can be on par with Guinness, I appreciate the effort, and this is a good start.

First sip is harsh, bitter, and dry. The toasted oats are there, but there is a sharp bitterness that cuts through any malt that the brewer intended to lay down. I don't know what they were going for, but they don't appear to have hit it right. This sip is a miss, but Guinness taught me that a full swig is necessary to enjoy a complex beverage and release the inner workings of the beer that may be great under all that.

Tip-in is light carbonation tingle and finely roasted oats with an unexpected acidic wash starting to mount. The middle brings a bit of that silky smooth center that makes Guinness so nice, but it's undercut by the acid burn to the point that the oats and charred wood can't really cover it. Then, the finish is a stab of acid that dribbles a bleeding gash of bitterness in its wake. As the beer warms, the burning fades down quite a bit, but it's never really removed.

Bottom Line: Maybe North Carolina isn't the place I should go to for an Irish Stout.



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