Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.
St. Peter’s Cream Stout
Why would anyone want to drink an iced mocha or Frappuccino, when you could have an adult beverage like St. Peter’s Cream Stout, which boasts more flavor than any of those super-sweet caffeine bombs? With this potent brew, you get flavors of chocolate and coffee swirling through each sip, but you get so much more.
First off, you get a great bottle. This is another of the distinctive St. Peter’s bottles (we wrote about St. Peter’s equally fine Old-Style Porter back in August), a 16.9-ounce antique-style green bottle that harkens back to the days when pharmacists worked in apothecaries, not drug stores.
There’s nothing medicinal about the aromas that burst forth when you remove the cap. Floral, toffee and licorice, partially stemming from what the label tells us are Fuggles and Challenger hops, mix with an obvious, strong roasted coffee quality as well as roasted malts.
Pour it into the pint glass and, well, it sort of looks like used WD40. It’s blacker than the most eye-opening jolt of espresso you’ve ever had, and it produces a lovely full head that dissipates to a state of lace around the edges of the glass fairly quickly.
The sense of sweetness carries over from the nose, but it’s held firmly in check by the bitter coffee flavors that somehow don’t coalesce the way sugar melts into coffee. Also, the cream is there, and it works well with the other flavors, but you would never mistake this for the cream in your coffee. And that’s all for the better, especially when you add the gentle carbonation that offers a pleasant tongue tingle.
Chocolate is also there, along with some fruit and caramel flavors, and all those dark, mysterious qualities that mark a fine stout. The sweetness disappears entirely at the back of your palate, leading to a creamy yet dry finish.
Is it any wonder this brew took gold medals from the International Beer Competition/Challenge in 2003, 2004 and 2006, as the label says?
Serve St. Peter’s Cream Stout at cellar temperature, a little warmer than refrigerator level but not Texas room temperature. That makes it ideal in cooler weather.
I like the fact that this comes in a bottle just slightly larger than a pint glass. That means you have a little left over, kind of like when you order a milkshake and your server brings you the metal container with whatever wouldn’t fit into your serving glass.
Ideally, you would pair this beer with something as robust and vigorous as this is. At the Lion and Rose, that could be an appetizer order of Bloke’s Mushrooms with cream gravy on the side. It could be any of the steaks, such as the King Richard’s Rib-eye or a Pub Burger with sautéed mushrooms and blue cheese added for good measure. Top it off with a Four High Chocolate Cake for dessert.