Last year, Missoula’s Big Sky Brewing Co. began a series of limited release beers available only in Montana, to the dismay of fans in the 23 other states where Big Sky is distributed. The latest release, just in time for this week’s St. Patrick’s Day, is Irish Stout. Here’s Big Sky’s description:
Butte American once had the largest population of Irish outside of Ireland. Our Northern Rockies Irish Stout is a tribute to those hardy souls. A cream-bodied session beer, black as the inside of a copper mine, Big Sky Brewing’s take on a venerable classic hits you right in the chops with a powerful does of chocolate and coffee flavors and kiss o’ sour mash. So relax, enjoy and tap ‘er light.
Sounds good, eh? So let’s check it out. Big Sky’s Irish Stout is indeed black with some ruby highlights on the edges and a small, light tan head that disappears quickly. The aromas are of roasted caramel malt. It is medium bodied and smooth (though not exactly creamy) until the wonderful coffee bite finds you in mid swallow. Dark chocolate flavors are present with roasted malts taking the front seat. Coffee flavors dominate the aftertaste.
At 5.2% (and 35 ibus), this is indeed a beer you can session and there’s quite a lot of flavor in there. It definitely isn’t a traditional Irish dry stout and that’s a good thing for this robust stout lover.