It’s the winter time. All of your friends are skiers and they want to take a trip up north to shred some fresh powder. They invite you – which is awesome. Only one caveat. You don’t know how to ski. You refuse to say no, but you know it’s going to be a rough day on the slopes. You pack a little something to survive your trip on the mountain: a knee brace, some ace bandages, band-aids, and of course, beer. What to reach for though? You need a brew that will stand up to the elements and can help you out in a jam. Thankfully, Hopworks Organic Brewery has just the beer: Survival Stout. Will it save your life or leave you face down on the bunny hill? Time to run them numbers…
Smell: Molasses, sweet dark grains, chocolate, and just a touch of coffee. Not a super roasty smell coming from this brew
Taste: First thing to notice when sipping this brew is the earthy, coffee taste from it. It may not have been overt in the smell, however in the mouth it’s a different story. The earthiness may be an off flavor that I’m detecting, which kind makes this beer weird and confusing. It’s not a deal breaker, but I’m just wondering if HUB intended it to be there, because it does sort of complement the coffee in an odd way… it’s kind of like Laura and Eddie’s relationship with Urkel. Unfortunately, outside of that coffee note, I’m not getting too much. The grains stay in the background and do not add much of a roasted flavor to the brew, which is disappointing when it comes to the style. If anything, they add a little bit of sweetness.
Also disappointing is the mouthfeel of this brew. The label says it’s brewed with oats, but I really don’t get any of that silkiness that is accompanied by them. Swishing it around, the beer is thinner than the hair on your grandfather’s head and the ABV could also use some of Arnold’s weight training as it’s only 5.3%. The carbonation is creeping closer to the overcarbed side, but it’s not that impactful.
Overall: With a name like Survival Stout, I was hoping that it would bring a bit more to my pint glass, but it failed to revive my taste-buds. Not a bad brew by any stretch, but in order for it to live up to its name, it could use a few more CPR classes. I’ll tick this one as a B. You might want to reach for something a little more robust to put into your first aid kit.