Yesterday I was thinking about the drinks that often get associated with St Patrick’s day celebrations, at least in the US. Guinness and Irish whiskey are easy choices, they are foundational Irish drinks that have become year-round mainstays in American drink culture. “Green beer”, usually adjunct lagers mixed with green food coloring, are a fully American invention I am sure, marketed squarely towards people who want to use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge. In fairness, in my college years and early 20’s I was absolutely one of those people who drank copious amounts of green colored beer on St Patrick’s day. The other drink that gets immediately connected to St Patrick’s Day celebrations is Irish cream liqueur, with Bailey’s as the most well known brand by far. I’ve never been a Bailey’s fan, I don’t love dairy (except for cheese and ice cream), and really dislike the idea of mixing dairy with booze. I think the only times I’ve consumed Bailey’s was may years ago drinking a certian cocktail (which will go unnamed here) that involves dropping a shot of Baileys and Jameson into a pint of Guinness. While this cocktail is kind of gross (only due to the curdle factor), the mix of flavors between coffee, cream, whiskey and stout make a lot of sense. Black Hog Brewing has captured 3 of the 4 in Irish Cream, a milk stout brewed with coffee. The lack of actual dairy, the “milk” designation just means it has unfermentable lactose, takes away the possibility of curdling. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a version aged in Irish whiskey barrels at some point, hopefully without an offensive name. Black Hog Irish Cream is available in the late winter/early spring on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Black Hog Irish Cream pours deep brown with a massive tan head. The aroma features a mix of coffee and roasted malts. The malts lead the flavor, notes of cocoa, toffee, and black licorice. The coffee flavor provides a strong complement to the roasted malt, and the lactose adds a subtle sweetness. Some earthy and grassy hops add balance and a touch of bitter bite to the end. Irish Cream is medium bodied, smooth and not overly boozy at 5.5% ABV. The finish is rich with some lingering coffee and malt flavor. Overall this stout has a nice mix of flavors, another excellent local option for your St Patrick’s week celebrations! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Black Hog reviews: