These bitter cold winter days really drive me to drink dark beers. Even now, as I look in my fridge now, there are only three IPA style beers, and the rest are either stouts or porters, because I just long for something that can warm my insides as I drink it. I’ve come across a few beers that are worth revisiting, but believe me, that list is very short. Naturally, I include Good People’s Coffee Oatmeal Stout along with Deschutes Black Butte Porter, but my favorite is a brew that hails from a tiny, little Texas town that packs a ton of flavor. The Buried Hatchet Stout from Southern Star Brewing is a stout that carries gigantic flavor in an extremely drinkable brew. If I had to drink one more stout for the rest of my life, it would be this bad boy. Here are my thoughts:
Something within the world of beer that I rarely preach on is glassware. I know that everyone has their own opinion on glassware, but it really does make a difference in the aromas released and the flavors and tastes achieved. It really bums me out when I go to a bar that prides itself on their beer selection, but they pour everything in a generic pint glass. Brewmasters, well, any one worth their salt, knows the exact temperature their beer should be served at and the type of glass it should be served in to reach the maximum experience. Isn’t that what we’re here for? An experience? If you’re not drinking craft beer to experience something that is the pride of a person’s hard work you’re wasting your time and money. Anyways, my rant is over and we can get to the more important content. Stouts should be served a little warmer, ideally at around 50-55 degrees in a nonic pint glass (look it up if you’re not familiar), to release the aromas and flavors that can be sometimes hidden under the chill of a walk-in cooler. I poured this one in a nonic pint glass and as you’re pouring this one, you first notice the dark, deep brown with a about a finger-width of off-white, almost khaki-colored head that lingered around for a short while and doesn’t leave much lacing on the glass.
The aroma is one of the best parts of this beer, because of the layered scents and the complex profiles. In the opening scent, you pick up on some fresh coffee that has a nice roasted, nutty quality along with a little chocolate. Also thrown in there is an odd profile that has the smell of syrup, like molasses or sorghum. There is a nice roasted character that mixes well with the malt and chocolate characters in the scent.
The taste is mind-blowing to be honest. The taste slightly follows the scent in the way of fresh roast coffee that is accompanied by a nice roasted malt character that creates a slight charred flavor and builds the robust character of the beer. There is a creaminess brought in about halfway through that mellows out the harsh tones you can pick up from the coffee and char. There is a nice chocolate undertone, maybe more along the lines of a dark chocolate bitterness rather than a milk chocolate though. Although, this creaminess and chocolately flavor doesn’t really hang around long, because the next wave of bitterness comes through and remains through the finish; even through the lingering coffee taste that some would say is slightly strong.
The mouthfeel is absolutely perfect on this beer. The light carbonation really compliments the flavors of the coffee and chocolate. The creaminess adds a smoothness to the beer without making it seem thick, but don’t let that put you under the impression that this beer can’t carry its weight and warm your entire body. I drank one can and suddenly I felt like I needed to take off my jacket for obvious reasons. As far as taste goes, this one is very solid from first sip to last sip. Allowing the beer to warm up allows a lot of hidden flavors to emerge and be seen. Everyone should try letting your stout or porter warm a little bit; you would be surprised at how much you will begin to taste once you’ve done this.
Overall, this beer has a lot to offer to anyone who drinks it. Everything is bigger in Texas including the flavors in their beers. With coffee, chocolate, and malt spearheading this brew, the robust flavors pack quite the punch in what could have been just another ordinary brew. This is probably the third offering I’ve had from Southern Star and I have yet to be disappointed. The Buried Hatchet Stout is a masterful take on the style and is something that the brewery should be proud of. I can’t wait to enjoy this one again and again. If you’re on the fence about darker beers or anything new, my only advice is to take the leap of faith and just try. I’m passionate about the craft behind these beverages and the energy these people put into them. To me, that’s what makes a great beer. The passion, the craft, and the yearning to create something that gets people excited. You’ve done that, Southern Star, you’ve done the he

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