Pacific Northwest - Admittedly on occasion I have cracked-open a local 'brew' and wrote my thoughts in order to draw attention to how great the region is. With my thoughts often comes along a small back-story that better demonstrates the beer’s character. My rules are generally simple when I post my beer tasting thoughts in order to avoid depriving you the audience a chance to try it yourself. One, the brewery must distribute to all three states (Idaho, Oregon, & Washington) so availability is not limited to the lucky few. Two, the beer in question must be available in large enough quantities that everyone can enjoy it. Three, it must be a beer that is not a ‘one-off’ (a beer that will more than likely not be around brewed again).
After receiving a Press Release from Firestone Walker’s head of marketing I was informed that besides their pending Anniversary Ale that they would be releasing a limited edition beer, Nectar Ales Black Xantus. Named after the rare Mexican Black Hummingbird, this beer has some parallels to a local favorite, Black Gold from Full Sail. I decided to crack open my only bottle of this beer in order to better understand what the Northwest is missing out on.
In the interest of being upfront I will tell you that I am not a certified member of either BJCP or the Cicerone program. I am just like most of you, a man who has years of craft beer consuming experience. At no point was I paid by the brewery, distributor, or retailer that would benefit from my thoughts. My opinion is based on my impressions and no one else’s.
Black Xantus from Nectar Ales is an Imperial Stout that pours dark without any light allowed to pass behind it. As the dark crude pours into the German Tulip Glass a strong, mocha, foamy, head is produced that slowly recedes leaving behind a rather aggressive (protein rich) curtain of lace. Placing my nose above the glass and giving it an agitated swirl I detect an aroma of bourbon soaked oaki-ness, dark chocolate, vanilla, and minor cherry accents. Taking my first sip I detect roasted dark coffee, mild vanilla, dark chocolate, subtle black cherries and minor oak character (leeched from the wood). Overall this beer has a medium weight on the tongue and would go well with chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, or a warm brownie.
Score: 8.5/10 (4.25 / 5) or A-