Ska Brewing, USA Vernal Minthe Stout - 5.8% (£2.70, 355ml can)
Ska Brewing are an American company located in California, perhaps best known in the UK for their India pale ale Modus Hoperandi, a deliciously hop-forward ale, however we recently received some more of their wares in-store, including this intriguing stout.
Now, yes it is in a can, but unlike those cheap plastic lagers the cans used by some UK, and many US, craft breweries tend to be filtered less aggressively, rarely pasteurised, and sometimes even retain their yeast sediment.
They’re easier to transport, light-tight so the beer cannot possibly be damaged by sunlight, and chill much quicker; perfect for when you need a beer sooner rather than later.
Vernal Minthe Stout is a robust stout brewed with cacao nibs and vanilla, nothing too ‘out there’ so far, and dosed generously with spearmint and peppermint. Pouring a deep chocolate brown, with a thick tan head, you’d struggle to not notice the mint: a strong aroma of wheetos and spearmint gum hits the nose immediately, with some underlying buttermilk crumpets suggesting the beer’s richness that lies beneath the adjuncts.
Light-bodied with a pleasing soft carbonation, this beer starts sweet, think after-eight mints to begin with, until the cacao’s bitterness and the roasted malts combine to give a suggestion of liquorice and tobacco. The overall impression is not dissimilar to menthol snuff; minty tobacco, at once revitalising and stimulating, coupled with a slight tang in the finish.
Recommended by Michael Bates
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