BEER: Sunday Morning Stout
STYLE: Imperial Barrel Aged Stout with Coffee
Malts: Not listed
Hops: Not listed
FROM THE BREWERY:
“Weyerbacher Brewing was founded in 1995 in a livery stable in downtown Easton, Pennsylvania. What began as a daydream in an avid homebrewer’s head has grown to the craft brewery that you know and love.
While trying to find our niche in the sea of craft that existed, we decided to explore BIG beers that would set us apart from the others. It was then, after brewing beers including Blithering Idiot and Merry Monks, our path in this industry became clear – making big, full-flavored, high quality brews.
From our humble beginnings in the livery stable to our approximately 30,000 square foot facility, we have always looked to push the envelope of taste experiences, obliterate style guidelines and have a blast while we’re at it!”
I know what you’re thinking – “does this guy drink anything but barrel-aged stouts…?” And to that, I’d reply “sometimes!” But when there are so many intriguing options on the market now, I might as well indulge. For my taste at the moment, I seem to enjoy the beers that have taken some time to mellow as opposed to the bottled-fresh IPAs, but my tastes change quite often. This quest for aged beers has lead me to a number of very unique breweries, but very few compare to Weyerbacher of Easton, Pennsylvania.
I use to live in Manhattan and make the drive through central PA on the way back home to visit friends and family. After the umpteenth time passing through, I realized that I should probably check out what breweries are on the way to make use of the 5 hour trip – and BOOM. Little did I know, I was driving RIGHT by Weyerbacher for all of these trips (probably a good thing for my wallet) and had no clue. Once it was on my radar (after falling in love with their Merry Monks), I stopped in and picked up a treasure chest of goodies – with a four pack of Sunday Morning Stout included. I drank one immediately, and left the rest in the cellar until today when I caught a glimpse of them when I was in the basement, and here we are.
My wife picked out the super sweet glass coffee mug that matched the beer, so even though it isn’t the best stout glass, I had to use it. The scent upon popping the top was surprisingly mild for the flavor the beer packs – mainly stray coffee aroma and roasted malt. The pour is thin (compared to Kentucky Breakfast Stout), yet the head is creamy. A dreamy, deep tan hue arrives in the foam and lures you into the glass. Game over.
The first taste is of delicious stout with a coffee nose, followed by a rush of bourbon drenched satisfaction. It quite literally is like drinking a coffee in the morning, a stout at lunch, and a whiskey in the evening…in each drink. How the flavors layer is quite nice, with none of them outcompeting the others. That simple fact shouldn’t be understated – its quite easy for a stout to lean coffee or to lean bourbon/oak, but to remain balanced with all the flavor playing a role – it speaks to Weyerbacher’s ability to craft big beers with big flavor and still preserve the delicate nuances of the style.
As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes a little more vocal in the aftertaste, converting the oak bourbon flavor to a whiskey neat situation. Depending on your affinity to whiskey, you might want to serve this freshly refrigerated (for those opposed to a dance with a devils cut) or at a mild 55F (for those who know the dance well). If you’re not sure, open it cold and let it warm while sipping it along the way…at 12.7%, the sips pack a punch.
CLOSING THOUGHTS and WHERE TO BUY
Sunday Morning Stout is a barrel-aged stout I can recommend without reservation. It has a surprisingly thin body for such a boisterous stout (both in flavors and in ABV). It does a great job walking the tightrope of an edgy style variant while also playing by the rules. If you’re in the Central/Eastern PA area, I heavily encourage you to stop in the Easton area and checking this place out – they have an amazing selection of unique, BIGbeers that are worth collecting/hording for a year or so. Hopefully I can get back up there soon and get some better photos for an official Brewery Visit in the near future.
Pepe Nero was a pleasant surprise for me – a beer that I had never heard of, I happened to find a 5 year vintage that had been maintained in (implied) responsible conditions. The result was an incredible beer experience that I personally think was brought about by the significant aging of this beer. The mellowing and melding of the sometimes intense Belgian and pepper flavor had harmonized perfectly. I look forward to hunting down additional years of this beer and comparing them to the few I’ve got remaining in the cellar. Keep an eye out for a Cellar Talk piece on this beer, as well as other Goose Island gems like the Bourbon County Stout.