Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"
I don't know if you've noticed, but we're starting to get a little chill in the air. Thanks to that daylight savings bullshit, the entirely of my evenings after work are now spent sans sunlight. I even saw Christmas decorations at the store the other day. Yep, winter is definitely coming.
To match the seasonal mood, I want something dark, complex, and contemplative for the game this week. Something warm both in flavor and profile; something that doesn't mind sitting in a glass while I stare into a roaring fire. That something is Stone's Xacoveza Stout, and it is magnificent. It's also this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.
Alternatively called an imperial stout, a milk stout, or the Stone-preferred mocha stout, Xacoveza is a big, meaty bastard. Weighing in at 8.1% ABV with a mountain of flavor, it's a brilliant take on a winter seasonal. It was originally released as a one-off in 2014, but the brew was so well-received that it now has a slot on Stone national distribution calendar. A blessing, that.
The flavor profile is meant to be reminiscent of Mexican-style hot chocolate. Flavored with coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk sugar, it certainly gets there, producing seductive notes of spice, cream, roasted coconut, chocolate, and espresso. Similar profile on the nose, too. While not 'spicy hot,' the peppers definitely play, and combine with the alcohol to really warm you up. Very pleasant, the kind of thing you want to be drinking on a chilly night.
My bottle is of last year's vintage, aged in cellar conditions since December of 2015. The rest did the beer well. While you may not want to wait to taste, saving a bottle or two from the six-pack for future consumption is recommended. Either way, now or next fall, you won't go wrong here.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Cardinal!