Chase away the winter doldrums, and all the annoyance of those ubiquitous car commercials co-opting the Christmas season like parasites, by indulging in a Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout. Everyone has a Christmas beer on the market, and most are the same: an ale with spices recalling Christmas desserts and grogs. It's similar to how every car company has a Christmas-style ad currently airing, and the ads are produced in paint-by-the-numbers fashion: show red car, play familiar Christmas tune, show people in down coats and ski hats, show Santa Claus, tout 0% financing. Yeah, yeah. This Christmas, at least Sierra's offering something different.
One of America's best brewers, and a brewer exceedingly adept at making drinkable beers with a slightly unique twist, Sierra delivers the goods with a highly enjoyable 10%, rich stout. Its body is supple but not overly viscous. The color is coal black with a tan head. Semi-sweet chocolate dominates the flavor, with a bit of roast on it and a touch of alcohol and pine. The chocolate malty goodness smooths over everything but it remains firmly grounded in the grainy, pine-like hops to give it a rewarding robustness. There's a touch of fruitiness to it, too, around the edges.
I'm highly impressed with this beer, which is my normal reaction to Sierra's small lot brews. This is another great Sierra brew and one I hope to find in bottles. I would certainly drink this at home. It's one of the best stouts I've tried in 2012.
4.5 of 5 stars.