Todays beer is a fortuitous discovery in a couple of ways, actually; as previously documented, I am a fan of flavoured stouts, so a Blueberry Maple Stout is right in my wheelhouse, as it were. More importantly, Hogshead Brewing, who were letting the Brewers from Amber's concoct their beers on the premises, folded earlier this year, and since they were letting Amber's Brewing make beer on their premises, part of the collateral damage of their demise is the likelihood of never again having the sublime Sap Vampire Maple Lager. As a result of these unfortunate happening, I find myself currently on the lookout for a new breakfast beer.
Now, drinking a pre-10 am beer is a pretty rare occurrence, even for me, but on those occasions, it is important to have the right style at hand. Rogue Brewing's Voodoo Maple Bacon Donut is not bad, but a trifle expensive, and many of the other baconesque ales tend towards a heavy smokiness which feels more suited to evening consumption, at least to me. Perhaps moving away from the meaty side to the wheaty main is worth exploring...
Even before I finished pouring, the smell of blueberries was detectable, and a closer olfactory perusal brought forward scents of chocolate and coffee, with just a trace of maple syrup. Once poured, the stout presents as a dark blackish brown with hints of red around the edges if you hold it up to the light, crowned with a modest amount of off-white head.
Upon tasting, the blueberries assert their presence immediately, tart and slightly astringent, but no less pleasant because of it. The more traditional stoutish characteristics of chocolate, coffee follow and a graininess I associate more with oatmeal stouts follows. This breadish characteristic combined with the lingering maple finish of the beer creates an indisputable impression of having just drank a blueberry pancake, with syrup.
Saugatuck Brewing out of Michigan has a real winner here, as far as I am concerned. Blueberry Maple Stout is too sweet to quench a thirst, and a little too strong at 6% to make a decent session ale, but could provide yeoman service as a dessert beer.
As a brunch beverage, I would suggest pairing Saugatuck's Blueberry Maple Stout with either blueberry pancakes or waffles, with a side of sausages for good measure. I'm really hoping to find this beer again between now and G&G XI!