21st Amendment Brewery
Cold Spring, MN
Back in Black
From the get-go, there seems to be a lot of carbonation and a rocky tan head shoulders its way to the top of the glass. Large bubbles create a bulbous archipelago across the foam. The color of this beer is deep plum with garnet and cola highlights at the edges. There is clarity to the beer, but very little transparency throughout. Lacing begins to show immediately as the head slowly descends to a quarter-inch.
The nose is a powdery mix of resinous hops – mostly citrus and a touch of wintery pine – and notes of cocoa and soft grains, like chocolate breakfast cereal. The amalgamation is pleasant, and there is a slightly toasted aroma, like a rain-smoldered fire.
The mouthfeel is excellent, starting smooth then allowing the busy effervescence to bring out more flavors. The hops appear tobacco tart, burning down to some dark chocolate with the faintest hint of raisin. It adds richness and a bit of earthy body to a finish that would otherwise be a bit puckering for any non-hopheads.
I love this style, and am more than happy to celebrate its growing popularity by buying brews like this. The lacing is even photo-worthy, with frosty strata laddering their way down the glass. This is a dangerously smooth 6.8%.