Friday, August 21, 2009
Ska Brewing Co. will release what promises to be a very interesting beer on Tuesday, Aug. 25: a barrel-aged "merlo" stout.
The recipe comes from a Cortez man, Chris Vest, who won the Osiris Homebrew Competition during the Snowdown festival in February. The prize: Ska promised to brew his beer for commercial release.
Vest's stout originally used the red wine merlot in the recipe. Unfortunately, the feds prohibit commercial brewers from mixing beer and wine (I know, dumb, huh?). So Ska instead aged the stout in oak barrels to get what they say is a similar taste. Ska also renamed the beer "Merlo Stout" to appease the feds.
Merlo Stout is big - 9.6 percent alcohol by volume, according to a news release.
Ska Head Brewer Thomas Larsen said the stout's aromas of "coffee, earthy hops, alcohol and a hint of smoke jump from the smooth blackness of this complex stout. For such a strong stout, the light body makes for a surprisingly quaffable brew.”
Merlo Stout also will be entered in the 2009 Great American Beer Festival's pro-am competiton.
Ska didn't mention it, but if Merlo Stout acts like other imperial stouts, it should age well. You might want to buy a couple of bottles and put one in a corner of your refrigerator for a few months.
Merlo Stout will be released in 22-oz. bomber bottles as part of Ska's Local Series, so it should be in liquor stores around Durango. If you're from outside the area, you're out of luck. And for those who live here, it won't last long.