8: Stout



Brewery: Exchange Brewery (Niagara on the Lake, Canada)

2017 Canadian Brewery of the Year


They have a very nice spot right on the main corner of Niagara on the Lake.

Type: Stout

ABV: 7.5%

Thoughts:   Is it ever dark.  Pitch black and the head is sticking around forever.  Milk chocolate brown and dense as heck this is a gorgeous beer.  It smells like the milk stout- a creamy chocolate molasses sort of sweetness to it.  It has a robust mouthfeel- very full and electric.  It tingles my mouth.  It has a smokey burnt chocolate taste.  This is a grown man beer.  Complex and changing.  I can’t keep up.

As it develops, it’s never one thing long enough for me to pinpoint it.  But the taste lasts a loooong time.  I wouldn’t say I love it- it’s too complex for me to kick back and enjoy while watching the game- but I am pretty sure that this is a good beer.  You should have had it, Scott.

I feel a little like…. they are trying to do things a bit too much.  It feels a bit forced- not sure how to explain but I will try.  They are trying to number their beers, which has gotten a bit out of control, with 8 being stouts, It seems that both the Dubbel and this stout have the 8, and the Belgian Stout has a sideways 8 to the power of 1.  Why do two beers have the same number (8)?  The website is another case of this.  All flash and no substance, poorly proportioned, hard to take in any information on the beers because everything is too big.  All the beers are sold in these identical black champagne style bottles which hold 750ml (a bit too much) and it’s a bit too formal and faceless for me (not to mention out of context?).  The identical labels are a cop out for me.  Why pick on these details?  Because they aren’t Moosehead, they aren’t Steamwhistle.  They are trying to do a lot, and when you do that, the details matter.  And most importantly, it carried through into the beer; it feels forced in this same way.  You know how complex the Westvleteren Yellow was?  And yet it was all orchestrated, and balanced.  This lacks the organization and cohesion.  Don’t get me wrong, strong effort for such a young brewery, but not there yet.  I hope they don’t get stuck on their first ideas on how to do things, because man they are a promising brewery.


One Comment Add yours

  1. scottdavey says:

    I totally agree with your final thoughts on this. The details are SUPER important if you consider yourself an artisan. Because the audience for a beer like this cares about the details. End of story.

    That being said, I’d be willing to keep an eye on them as they grow and refine. I also agree that I hope they don’t get stuck on their first ideas.. Some serious wisdom right there, Michael.


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