I must admit I feel a little bad about this post. Both of the selections are limited releases from Big Sky, so I’m not sure how easily you’ll come across them. One of them was the last six-pack on the shelf, and I doubt it will be restocked, and the other was on the floor in a shipping box at the end of the aisle. Hopefully you’ll be able to find them at some time; I’m guessing each is made once a year. These were rare finds and I had to grab them. I was actually surprised to see them. Usually the only Big Sky beers in Chicago are the common ones: Moose Drool, Trout Slayer and Big Sky IPA (all of which I’ll review eventually), and whatever the seasonal beer is at the time, which is only available in the Montana Mixer 12-pack sampler. But it also gives me hope I’ll be able to find the other four limited releases they make.
Cowboy Coffee Porter
I was a little apprehensive about this one when I first bought it. I had some coffee, mocha and caramel porters and stouts before, and I didn’t like them, but at that time I was still drinking junk in college. I knew I would have to give them another chance, and because it was such a rare find, I had to get it when I saw it. The result: I was shocked at how much I liked it. I thought I would make my way through each glass, not really loving it but taking it in stride, but I loved this beer. It’s black color might be menacing at first, but it has the thickness and consistency of a lager or pilsner. It’s rather light and doesn’t weigh you down like I thought it might. It is uplifting and smooth, with slight creaminess, but not too thick to overpower you. Some beers in this vein can leave a lingering distaste after each sip, but with this there is no buildup of a syrupy, sugary, too sweet flavor that would fill your threshold before the first glass is empty. If I had to compare it to another beer for reference, Guinness would be close. It’s color is the same, and just like Guinness it is lighter than you expect on first glance. It’s light in composition and creamy, but not too much, and both have a slight cocoa bouquet, but Cowboy Coffee Porter also smells like a finely brewed cup of coffee.
But after all that, it’s just really good to drink. Because it’s not too thick it is refreshing and resembles an iced coffee. The coffee flavor isn’t too much or overpowering, but just right. You know you’re drinking a beer, but once the sip fully subsides, you’re left with the taste of coffee. Because it’s not too thick or syrupy, you’re left wanting more. As you can tell, I really like this beer. If you’re looking for a more savory taste, you’d like this. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but this hit the spot. You wouldn’t want to drink five of them, but one or two might be just what you’re looking for.
Overall 8/10 Notable Bouquet Coffee, chocolate
Heavy Horse Scotch Ale
I haven’t had many Scotch ales, in fact if I had any before this one I don’t remember them, so I was a clean slate when I tried this one. And I might not be getting too many more of them because I was not a fan.
It wasn’t bad on the front end, but by the time you swallowed, it became strange. Although it isn’t that thick, it tastes and drinks a lot thicker than it actually is and presents a very malty flavor on the front end. It has a rich mouthfeel and leaves a bitter aftertaste. I’ve heard that some Scotch ales can taste like Scotch liquor, and while this one didn’t offer a profound alcohol taste, it was still strong. Sometimes it reminded me of a very rich amber ale. This ale was a dark red, almost mahogany color, but tasted like it could’ve been darker. In the end, I wouldn’t buy this one again and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But if you like thick ales or want something that will be more filling, this is worth a try.