You’re 13 years old. It’s a Saturday. And you’re stuck at home. What to do? Well, you can dial up to AOL and update your profile, you could scan the away messages, or you can even kill the boredom by playing Cupcapades or any other game on AddictingGames.com. But of course, your stupid older brother has to ruin that because it’s his turn on the computer. You know you won’t see the shining light of the monitor until Sunday morning when Dad decides to make bacon and eggs in the cast iron pan that’s older than you. So what does a 13 year old do to pass the time? TV of course. You check ESPN – Stanford is blowing out Cal in hoops, not worth watching. MTV – That episode of The Real World when Ruthie admits she has a drinking problem… rerun. Ahh yes. Finally something good. The Disney Channel is airing the best movie they ever made (besides Cadet Kelly of course) – Johnny Tsunami. Johnny was one hell of a surfer, but I could only imagine how good he’d be if he had a brew in his hand that matched his namesake.
Luckily for us, we don’t have to be able to surf in order to understand the greatness of the Tsunami… we just need to find the Pelican. Pelican Brewing brings us their rendition of the classic stout, aptly named, Tsunami Stout. No, they’re not from Japan, but from the pine tree loving state of Oregon. So maybe it’s not so aptly named after all? Anywho, any beer company with a Pelican on the label, I’m a fan of. But should I be? Time to run those numbers.
Appearance: Dark and nutritious, Tsunami stout left a tan colored head that didn’t linger for too long, nor did it leave a tan lacing. Again, all stouts typically look the same and this fits the bill.
Smell: Oats, coffee, and malt are the first thing I notice. Again, nothing surprising coming from a stout. However, I start to get hints of leather, chocolate, fresh baked cookies, and cinnamon bread. God that sounds delicious doesn’t it? You’re not a fan of leather you say? Pfffff. C’mon… this beer sounds awesome. Johnny would totally agree with me… and his grandfather too!
Taste: Dark malts, burned bread, roasted chestnuts, bitter espresso, dark chocolate all make an appearance in the brew. Everything blends together nicely in this beer. No one flavor jumps out at the beginning of the taste or the finish – it’s very well balanced and everything a stout should be. It has the roasty character you look for in addition to those bold, dark malts that emit the coffee and chocolate notes. This is one heck of a stout not because of its uniqueness, but because of its simplicity. So many stouts try to stand out with hoppiness, or a big alcohol punch, but this is the quintessential stout. The one knock on this brew is that its just a liiiiittttle too bitter on the finish. It lingers for a bit, but it’s not such a turn off where you’re afraid to go back for another sip.
I had this brew right after helping push 2 cars out of a snowy parking lot and helping shovel out another 4. It’s just what the doctor ordered on a cold and snowy day. You really have to earn this beer – it tastes much better after you sweat a little. But to be truthful, this is my second time having Tsunami Stout; I had it once during a UConn tailgate and it tasted wonderful then – so basically I just lied to you. It sounded good though. Anywho, if you ever see this available, pick it up and enjoy it.
Overall, I’d give this brew a solid, and a rare, A. As mentioned before, you really have to get nitpicky to find its flaws, but every craft beer drinker can handle a little bitterness. The 7% ABV on this brew is stunningly perfect. I’m about 3/4 through the bottle and am staring to feel the tingle now… it’s really a thing of beauty. If you find yourself on the west coast, browsing a favorite online beer store, or in a really good package store, pick this up for the winter. It’s everything a stout should be, and Johnny himself would be proud.