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Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Big Bear Black Stout

Big Bear Black Stout
Josh Buchanan

ABV: 8.1%
IBU: 55

Now that it is slightly chillier outside, it finally feels socially acceptable to be drinking stouts and porters until the cows come home, which makes today’s showcase possible. Getting as excited as possible for the upcoming hockey season and already interesting football season, I mistakenly associate dark and heavy with session-able, whether it be Yeungling Black and Tan, Dogfish Indian Brown Ale or Smuttynose Baltic Porter.

This week, while getting the hops and malts flowing before another Flyers preseason hockey game, I was introduced to Bear Republic’s incredible American Stout—Big Bear Black Stout. Served in a goblet, this libation takes on many interesting ingredients, including but not limited to, anise (a polarizing ingredient from my childhood; mom loves cooking with it but dad hates the smell of it), baker’s chocolate and coffee. If these certain trends prevail, I assume one day I will actually enjoy a cup of coffee instead of just going for its alcoholic counterpart.

Big Bear pours out very dark without a substantial head and carries the sweet chocolate and coffee aroma pleasantly and tempers this roasted profile with mild hoppiness that can be expected of Bear Republic. In this instance, I find it ironic that many California stouts are perennials due to the assumption that warm weather practically all year round might not be the most accommodating climate for such style, but it does help, albeit to a minor degree, justify my personal preferences in dark all year round, even if I do run the risk of a warm bottle.

As you have also noticed, Big Bear does pack a punch, but much like Goldilocks, you really have to look for it rather than knowing it was simply there. Great taste and body add this to the list of 22 oz. that will be finding a new home as the season continues to gray and the weather becomes less forgiving.

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