Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout by Muskoka Brewery.
Normally when I review a beer I do it alone without distraction – no music or television – just me and the beer. I'd like to say that I do this so I can sip my beer in quiet contemplation, maybe making a few slurping noises, perhaps a gargle, but really it's because I'm afraid I'll drink it too quickly while watching a Seinfeld rerun.
For Muskoka's Winter Beard I did the opposite. I had guests over at my apartment (helping me with home decor, bribed with pizza) and we were having loud conversations with the TV blaring in the background. Already a few beers in, I pulled out the champagne bottle of stout from the fridge, pried off the cork and poured small samples of the thick oil black liquid.
Deep in conversation, my guests didn't give much notice to the drink when I served it; I don't think they knew what I was giving them. But as they took their first sips the conversation quieted and the flavours in the glass became the new topic of discussion.
Pouring black with a thin crema head there are deep aromas of dark chocolate, coffee and mulled cranberries. The flavour is rich and seriously indulgent with dark chocolate, roasted malt notes and a sweet cranberry finish. Its dessert-like qualities reminded me of candy – dark chocolate Glosettes or maybe a Cherry Blossom.
This is a wonderful beer that deserves to be shared with friends during the holidays. Be aware though, it tends to be a conversation stopper.
Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is available for a limited time at LCBO locations throughout Ontario, and will retail for $13.95 per 750 ml corked-and-caged bottle.