Mt. Pleasant Brewing Steam Engine Stout Ale: 6.4% abv
Well, being a Kalamazoo patron, and since this is our first Mt. Pleasant review, I planned on spending most of this review cracking jokes about Central Michigan University in hopes that this beer would be as inadequate...well, you get the point. But unfortunately, the joke is on me tonight, since I was intelligent enough to brush my teeth right before commencing this review. Don’t worry, this is the beauty of having a panel of tasters to compare notes to, so you won’t see fluoride as one of the tasting notes.
Anyway, Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company brings us their stout, and in small letters put ale under stout. It is a stout, so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not. As they describe it, it is a rich, smooth stout that some describe as a “Mistress”. They even go so far as to call it “home-wrecking” good. It’s not. We probably wouldn’t leave our seats for this one, let alone our houses. If it makes anything better, we did give it some praise. Start at the beginning, and you start at the best. Mt. Pleasant obviously never adhered to the save the best for last principle.
The nose is the most unique, complex part of the beer, and knowing what we know now, we might have just stayed there. This is “make a candle scent out of it” good, but that’s about as far as I’ll go. A sweetness greets you at the nose, presenting less coffee than your average stout, but compensating with a prominent red wine flavor, and some delicate strawberry and raspberry notes as well.
There is a soft oakiness to the nose, as well as a strong chocolate flavor. This beer will even give you that warm aroma of bread rising if you agitate it enough. Then we go to the flavor, and here’s where things get a little less great. The mouth-feel, first off, is not as thick or full feeling as a normal stout would be. It is not a heavy feel, but rather lighter, more delicate, like you’d expect from an IPA. This isn’t a bad thing, but it did strike us as different.
The taste proceeds with coffee, and much more of it then you’d guess from the nose; vanilla, slight nutmeg, malt, a red grape at the beginning, and a small hint of chocolate that will not sate your appetite if you’re a lady at that specific time of the month. The interesting thing of it is that the nose is kind of misleading towards the rest. The finish is medium in length, and provides a reinforced memory of the coffee you just tasted, with some vanilla and weak caramel notes, a little bit of lemon, and a slight bitterness. Complexity is lost, here we are at the end. Anticlimactic, I know. But don’t be so hard on it. It’s a nice, easy drinker with a classic stout style and a lighter body. It is definitely worth a try, just don’t expect a Kentucky Breakfast Stout here.