Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope everyone is having some fun and enjoying a few tasty beers this evening. I am battling a massive head cold so my festivities will involve Nyquil and an early bed time. Fortunately I planned ahead, I drank a tasty stout last weekend that would be a quality option for those seeking a local alternative to Guinness today. I take semi-frequent trips to Maine and I’ve been trying to visit some of the breweries on my route, but there are still a number that I haven’t made it to for one reason or another. One of these is Banded Horn Brewery in Biddeford, I had hoped to stop this fall but my son was in a middle of a nap and we wanted to make it as far north as possible before he woke up and got fussy. As luck would have it, Banded Horn is now available in Massachusetts! I grabbed a few of their offerings on a recent stock up run, and I am sticking to my new plan and featuring a non-IPA as my first review of a new-to-me brewery. Banded Horn’s winter seasonal is Norweald stout, sold on draft and in 12 oz. bottles. I love a good stout in the winter months, and while some of the boozier imperial stouts are delicious it’s also nice to have options with a little lower ABV.
Banded Horn Norweald Stout pours pitch black with a minimal off-white head. The aroma is mild, just a touch of roasted malt. This malt comes through with full force in the flavor though, notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toasted bread, toffee and raisin. This is balanced by a small dose of hops, just a hint of earthy flavor and a crisp bitterness to complement some of the big malt flavors. Norweald is medium bodied, very smooth and not overly boozy at 6.5% ABV. The finish is clean with just a bit of lingering roasted malt flavor. Banded Horn Norweald is a very tasty stout, I have been pushing for more non-imperial, non-adjunct stouts and porters and this fits the bill perfectly. I am looking forward to sampling more Banded Horn beers now that they are available in the Boston area. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.