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Beer: Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Brewery: Renaissance Brewing (Blenheim, South Island)
Type: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: a hair under 5%
Renaissance Brewing is, to my knowledge, the first NZ craft brewery to hit the LCBO shelves, which it did about a year ago with their Scotch Ale, "Stonecutter." It was a stellar brew, one of the best of the style I've encountered, so I've been very much looking forward to this arrival!
But here's the thing about craft beer from overseas: they can be a bit...temperamental. Because of the long travel time and temperature changes and such, the beer that makes these long journeys can have an end result that might be a bit off from what the brewer intended, and so I try to keep in mind that at any stage in the beer's travels from brewery to pint glass, something can happen. Fortunately, this particular brew turned out just fine, save for one minor issue: the carbonation. When I opened the bottle, what spewed forth was a foamy mess, as if I had shaken the bottle vigorously before pouring (I hadn't - it's been sitting in my fridge for several hours). After an emergency glass grab and a few minutes of slow pouring and waiting, I managed to pour the contents into a respectable-looking pint. It took some extra time, but in the end, saving the beer is what matters the most!
After the brew settled, we were left with a truly All-Black brew, with only a few hints of caramel around the edges of the glass. The foamy head survived for quite some time, forming a sturdy off-white cap. Nice lacing as well.
Nice hearty stout nose to this: roasted malt, caramel, coffee, dark chocolate, a woody tartness, a bit of fruit. It reminds me somewhat of a porter.
Nice chocolate character to this brew, though it is by no means sweet. Roasted malt, a touch of caramel, oak, dry dark chocolate, oatmeal. The body is creamy and mild, with the oatmeal character smoothing out the mouthfeel. It's a bit thin, but this might be due to that carbonation burn-off so I'll have to try this again to be really sure.
Great stout that any Orc or Shirefolk could enjoy! It's no trip to New Zealand, but I'll take it. Solid brew, a bit pricey, but worth a try at any rate! (Grade: B+)