I have a pretty complicated relationship with Westbrook. Having met Ed Westbrook via a mutual acquaintance in a garage in Charleston, SC just prior to him opening Westbrook Brewing Co. back in 2010 (ish), As such, I have a soft spot. I also love a couple of their beers (White Thai and Mexican Cake), but I also feel they have lost their way somewhat (pandering to bullshit recent trends, and for example, a really underwhelming experience with the 11th anniversary). Long story with more to add, but suffice to say that every time I see a Westbrook beer I always have a pang of nostalgia, with a whiff of anticipation, and contrastingly a worry that I’ll be disappointed.
An inky black pour as anticipated BUT the dark mocha colored head is extraordinary. Truly a unique, deep cocoa color to the head. Great retention, good lace. Resplendent.
The nose is also extraordinary – pure chocolate.
Liquid chocolate follows in the tastes, with no cloying elements, nothing too sweet, and a very light, drinkable mouthfeel. No bitterness. The very far back end has a large, but subtle alcohol touch, and a lovely lingering, gentle sweetness. NOTHING bruising about this beer, a true, balanced delight. I don’t get the sea-salt element as an entity, BUT maybe its the thing that is creating the overall experience. More cocoa comes forth with every sip, and the alcohol is so well-balanced its a bit frightening. I would not call the mouthfeel ‘thin’, BUT it’s lighter than many in the style. That’s a double-edged sword as always, easier drinking but it takes away a touch in other ways.
SO tasty, SO delightful, SO unlike me to react to a beer like this, in this way. That should tell you lots.
The contrast between the disappointment of the 11th, and the devastating success of 12th could not be more stark. Damn!
WOW. One of those beers that even a jaded, experienced and bitter beer drinker of decades suddenly has their attention grabbed by. Gutted not to have purchased a few more bottles.