Friday, February 17, 2012

Banana Split Chocolate Stout

Today I'm drinking Banana Split Chocolate Stout brewed by Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, South Carolina. This is part of the brewery's Atypical Series, beers brewed to be "wholly unique and incredibly delicious". The label on this wine bottle is very attractive, but definitely takes a few glances to take it all in. First, I think the dark red lettering, especially of the beer name, stands out and works great against a yellow-orange background.

The front label depicts a lady in yellow toasting some kind of creature while sitting on a barrel of beer. But wait! This is no ordinary lady. She is a banana lady, half redhead, half banana, with no feet. She's a bit like a mermaid with the peeled part of the banana acting a bit like a skirt. But what is going on in this depiction? Is she being peeled in a deal with the devil?

Turn the bottle and you get a few more answers. The beast that banana lady is toasting with is indeed the devil, pictured and hinted at with a story titled "Forgive Us, Our Transgressions". Basically, this beer is so sinful yet still worth the indulgence, according to the label. Read it yourself for a nice introduction.

A few more things I noticed. In the spot where these bottles list the states and their 5 or 10 cent refunds, well, this bottle doesn't offer cent refunds. Instead, it offers 5% and 10% refunds. I wonder who approved this label and who is going to have to pay up, because this was NOT a cheap bottle. 52 IBU. 7.5% alcohol. Last comments... The cage over the cork took an enormous effort to untwist the zillion rounds of (over)-twisting--amazing finger strength. When I finally got to the fake cork (which is just an observation, not a negative), it took another feat of patience before I could get it out of the bottle.

Moderate pop. Nice chocolate aroma with lots of banana and a bit of roast. Bittersweet chocolate flavors start things off, not sweet at all. Instead, more campfire and burnt toast flavors mingle with the chocolate, and some smokiness is really noticeable, building with each sip. Caramel, vanilla beans and mocha coffee add some flavorful nuances and interest to the beer.

I haven't even mentioned the other star of the beer yet. Sweet and ripe bananas add a lot of character and a second distinct profile to the beer. Sweet and bitter play off each other very nicely--enough hops and that big roast to tone the banana and malty sweetness.

Carbonation is good. Body is medium and not too rich. Creamy texture. The 7.5% alcohol provides a light heat kick to the party. Banana aftertaste is big. A fun and enjoyable beer. Bananas and chocolate certainly go together. Check this out if you get the opportunity. BTW, I didn't share, but you could!

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