What is it about cereal TV commercials? Their kitschy taglines are engrained into our heads well into adulthood: “Kid tested, mother approved.” “They’rrrreee Grrrreat!” “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” “Breakfast of champions.” “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” “Hey Mikey! He likes it!” “I’m coo-coo for Coco Puffs!” “You and the Captain can make it happen!” (Sorry for wasting 10 seconds of your life there, but need I say, point proven?) Walking through the isles of my local bottle shop, I took one inspirational glance at Captain Swain and thought to myself, “Yes, we can make this happen.” I mustered up the courage to join Mr. Swain on an adventure navigating though a black sea of clandestine malts and spine tingling hops. Will it be safe sailing? Time to run them numbers.
Smell: Malt bomb, some chocolate, molasses, syrup, alcohol
Taste: Mmmmmmmm! I have to say, I was a little nervous with the smell of this beer that it would be too syrupy and one noted, but that’s not what I get with the taste. Right of the bat there are really rich chocolate malts with a robust and roasty flavor. I like this Swain guy, because for a stout, it actually has nice piney, hop bitterness to it. It is a little floral as well, but the main stay of the brew is certainly the roasted malt. If you’re looking for a super creamy and thick stout, I don’t think this would be the beer to get, but it has such a unique flavor to it for what can be a pretty mundane style of beer. The carbonation of the brew is nice, but its mouthfeel is thin for the style. I wish Cisco would have put some protein in this guy to beef it up a bit. The finish on the beer has a molasses character to it with a touch of alcohol; I’m not shocked this beer is 8% ABV, on the way down it does have a subtle burn.
Overall: Hey Mikey! I like it! It’s a solid beer and certainly a unique stout, however in my opinion it really drinks more like a charred and roasted black IPA. The roasted flavors dominate, but I’ve never had a stout this piney before. Additionally, the thin mouthfeel fits with the aforementioned style rather than an extra stout. Overall, I’d give the beer a B+. It’s nice on a cold day, but not hearty enough to replace a breakfast of champions.