love to see revitalization of breweries that go through a dark period. We all know about Abita, but I’m not positive I know anyone that absolutely loves their beer. It’s really just okay, and I feel bad for saying that. Although, when you’re that big, there are some obstacles you have to overcome before you can delve into the realm of experimentation.
For now, it seems as if the ducks are in a row, because Abita has begun creating several special edition brews only available in 22oz. bottles. The only two I’ve come across are the Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels and this Macchiato Espresso Milk Stout. I’m not big on bourbon, but I do love a good coffee stout. I bought a bottle and brought it home, and, to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavors I got.
Before I go any further, I want to talk about the art for these newer releases. Whoever has been hired to do these labels needs a gigantic pat on the back. The only thing that gets me more excited than great beer is great packaging. The artwork on this bottle is beautiful and has a really great French Quarter coffee shop vibe, which I love. The art is printed directly on the glass and makes each bottle somewhat of a collectable, if you’re into that like I am, and that’s cool, because it’s not something that’s going to be made forever.
This beer pours almost a pitch-black color with a thick, frothy, mocha-colored head; easily two finger widths high. As this one was pouring, the thickness of the beer began to worry me. Normally, when it’s super thick, there’s a ridiculous amount of sweetness from the lactose that really just makes it almost impossible to drink; that and the fact that it sits on your stomach like concrete. Either way, while it pours you get these great aromas of coffee and chocolate that really blend together nicely, I mean, come on, of course they do. The head settles pretty slowly and leaves a nice bit of lacing around the glass with some splotchy areas resting on top of the beer.
As soon as the beer hits your tongue, you’re bombarded by coffee and sweet milk flavors. They blend together perfectly and create that wonderful macchiato flavor that serves the name justice. There is a light sweetness from the lactose that lends to the milk-chocolate flavors that become prevalent towards the latter half of the sip. Aftertaste is overwhelmingly coffee centered, but I don’t mind. It’s pretty good coffee to say the least, because during the cold brewing process, they add espresso dolce beans from PJ’s Coffee, a coffeehouse originating in New Orleans. The flavor of this one isn’t really unique in any way, but the execution is where this one shines. This one has dessert beer written all over it. I’d only suggest drinking this one in the cooler months, but that’s just my opinion, because if you’re one of those people that likes to crack open a nice milk stout when it’s 90 degrees outside you’re probably the kid that drank chocolate milk outside in July. Kind of weird, but we’ll go with it.
The mouthfeel was on par with what you would expect. A nice, smooth coffee stout with a nice creaminess factor to it mixes well with the chocolate notes you can pick up in the end. Carbonation was really mellow and that helped a lot with the drinkability of the beer. There’s nothing I hate more than getting a milk stout that is so carbonated it’s impossible to enjoy (see Straight to Ale’s Lily Flag Milk Stout.) Harking back to when I mentioned how thick the beer looked, well, that was pretty much true. The thickness of the beer was a little difficult to power through on a full stomach. This is one I would like to drink again after a lighter meal and maybe pair it with some nice Belgian chocolate to really bring out that milk chocolate sweetness in the beer.
Overall, this brew was a step above most things in Abita’s wheelhouse. There’s complexity and flavor profiles that they have never really explored before, and I’d say it is a pretty good representation of the style. Of course with all Abita beers, there’s that watered down aspect that they just can’t seem to get away from, but I guess that’s just part of their brand. I like the direction Abita is heading in and I can’t wait to see what the spring and summer bring for special releases.

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