Los Angeles is on fire (again). Ash flakes on our windshields in the morning. Fire fighter worship on the airwaves. 747s filled with flame retardant goop swooping overhead. While some people pick up the pieces, we’re huddled close to our floor fans, exploiting weird and roomy sun tones for beer photography.
Chances are slim that Belgian wizard brewer Mikkeller knew it was spewing out the perfect black beer for a 38 percent contained wildfire. But their coffee stout, Black Hole, was an eery specter of what it must be like choking on extinguished flame.
Whether it’s the time traveled or intended, no bubbles survive in this bottle (which by the way is, inadvisably green). In place of any head is a wisp of smoke signals. We trickled this beer into an 8 ounce glass and thought of a sad soccer mother crumbling into a chair at her neighborhood Starbucks in the Glendale hills, fanning the putrid stank, trying desperately to pretend it’s a normal morning.
Like the chain’s ice coffee and espresso shots this stout is bitter. Medicinal throat coat syrup, except the prune-death tonic black looks like a cigar stump was extinguished in it. There’s little chocolate here. And though it looks rich, it’s all smoke and no fire. Burnt drugs for dessert.
While somewhat displeasing, even distressing tasting, Mikeller has a stone cold answer to their more popular Beer Geek breakfast stout in this one. Just don’t slide it to any returning heroes from the blaze. They might have flashbacks.
Dairy Pairy: Gamonedo; a smoked surface bluing freak from Asturias.
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