Two Brothers Artisan Brewing
It certainly doesn't take an expert to recognize that the fastest growing style of craft beer in the United States is the India Pale Ale. And like it or not, we, the collective beer geeks, are seeing breweries across the country catering to the hop head demographic. But where exactly does that leave those of you (and we know you're out there because we've spoken with you) who want to get into craft beer, but your palate just absolutely refuses to let you share the love for these piney, bitter ales. Well, quite obviously, the time has come for you to approach the opposite end of the style spectrum. Yes, I'm telling you to grab yourself an Imperial Stout!
But wait! Let's start off slow! Imperial stouts can go upwards of 15% ABV, and I don't want you to be turned off to the style because your initial selection was just altogether too bold of a brew. May I suggest that you start with Northwind from Two Brothers Artisan Brewing.
Based in Warrenville, Illinois, there's very little done wrong by the team at Two Brothers, and this great introductory Imperial Stout is no exception. On the nose, you'll notice the usual suspects of roasted malts, coffee, and rich milk chocolate. In addition, I'm getting hints of plums, cherries, and black licorice. A great smelling beer that pours near black with a tan head.
Much of what is detected on the nose carries over to the palate, if you're really looking for it. There is, however, greater emphasis on chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and those really nice roasted malts. And for the record, this beer is nowhere near hoppy.
Overall, this is a solid lower ABV Imperial Stout that exhibits a medium body with all of the flavors you want in this style, as well as a few unexpected yet enjoyable characteristics. A great sipper to be had for dessert!