I had to shovel a little snow when I got home from work this evening, mostly just cleaning the porch and walkway, but enough to conclude that winter is officially here. With the winter months I am moving some more dark beers into the rotation, expect plenty of reviews of stouts, porters, barleywines and Belgian dark styles, especially once I clear out some of the hoppy beers that came back from Maine this Thanksgiving. One interesting take on a stout I sampled recently is TBD from Castle Island Brewing. This was the first beer Castle Island brewed, and the TBD moniker was originally a placeholder until they came up with an official name, but people loved the name (and the beer), so it stuck. TBD is labeled as a “hoppy stout”, which is an unusual designation. I typically like the dark malts to be the predominant flavors in my stouts and was a little concerned that the stout character would be lost with excessive hop additions, but I am always will to give something new a try. Castle Island TBD is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.
Castle Island TBD pours pitch black with a solid light brown head. The scent is a mixture of roasty dark malt with a little floral hoppiness. The flavor is malt forward, notes of black coffee, dark chocolate, toffee and black licorice. This is complemented by a solid hit of hops for the style, touches of grass and pine along with noticeable bitterness. TBD is full bodied but goes down smooth, at 7.2% ABV it isn’t an imperial stout but isn’t a session beer either. The finish is dry and crisp with a little lingering malt flavor and hop bite. When I saw the term “hoppy stout” I was a little worried that TBD would be a black IPA with a different name, but Castle Island did a good job adding an extra dimension of hops without detracting from the flavor profile you associate with a stout. Very good beer to drink in the upcoming winter months. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Castle Island Reviews: