Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout
Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout – Hinterland Brewery, Green Bay, WI
Downtown living gets hectic and all the noise and bustle can quickly create an uncomfortable ambiance in my brain. Life downtown seems perpetually hurried even on my off days. I hustle uptown and back, fitting in various obligations and rendezvous where I can along the way, the pace exacerbated by the mere 24 hours in a day and the need to rebuff panhandlers every block or two.
When my weariness of downtown reaches critical mass I find escape in a neighborhood not far away but much quieter and more relaxed, one I used to live near and full of green space, inviting gastropubs, and enough beautiful joggers to give me chronic neck problems if I were to live there. A few days ago I needed to retreat there to clear my head and sort through the various skeletons of ideas for articles to find the one that wouldn’t crumble with a little meat put on its bones. But no utopia is truly a utopia and this Eden has its blemish, too. My ex. Not just an ex, as the ones I’ve accumulated have generally taken their place in my memory with no lingering ill will, if they’ve stayed in my consciousness at all. No, she is the Voldemort of exes, she-who-shan’t-be-named, the blight on my otherwise blissful enjoyable dating history. And in this otherwise perfect oasis for my sanity she works, this seething pixie of emotional unpredictability and Siberian coldness.
This get-away day outside of downtown began beautifully until I saw her while walking along the sidewalk opposite from her work place. It was from a fair distance, about the length of Chad Pennington’s longest pass that didn’t wobble like a quail with one and a half wings (Editor’s note: 13 yards). Close enough for me to recognize her instantly but far enough that I did not run the risk of having to acknowledge her presence. But that was enough. Tension rippled through the muscles in my body, my jaw instinctively clenched, and my plans changed immediately. Her presence ruined any enjoyment I was about to get from flipping through some interesting fiction at the bookstore and my day now required a beer.
One of the aforementioned gastropubs served exactly what I needed at that time. I was looking for a hearty beer, one with a kick (and a punch and a slap) that would allow me to grimace and growl and be bitter about the absolute gall of her working where she has always worked while I was in the neighborhood. Hinterland’s Luna Coffee Stout was that beer- not the beer I necessarily wanted, but the beer I deserved (Editor’s note: The Dark Knight Rises, in theaters July 20). The bar had it on a nitro tap which is the optimal way to enjoy this beer. The pour was a bit unremarkable when considered alongside such robust displays from beers like Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout, though the light mocha head of foam promised some decent flavor. The aroma was a bit muted but pleasant, with coffee obviously on the forefront with little notes of semi-dark chocolate and caramel helping out.
The taste, of course, is what I was hoping to ease my tense state of mind and it did its job. The stout’s coffee flavor was somewhere between a dark roast and espresso but it wasn’t dominating. In some ways that worked against it, as the rest of the flavor was a bit shy- some oat flavors combined with toasted rye bread lurked in the creamy mouthfeel. If not for being on a nitro tap, the overall flavor could have been a bit watery. As it were, the beer complimented my curmudgeonly mood perfectly- the slight bitterness in my mouth matching the feeling I had towards myself for ever having dated The Ex, the search for secondary flavors much like the fruitless justifications I had for remaining in that relationship. By the end of the glass, the analogies had come and gone and the stout had worked with me through all my malcontent until, with the last sip, I freed myself of this train of thought. Like the last thirty minutes of a disaster movie, I looked up and felt hope (coincidentally triggered by the several attractive waitress buzzing about the establishment) having shaken these feelings. Hinterland’s Luna Coffee Stout may not overly impress, but it is the perfect companion for grinding out some negativity and coming out happier, calmer, and just a little buzzed on the other side.