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Bell’s Cherry Stout
Written by Taylor
Bell’s Cherry Stout is a winter seasonal available from November through March. It combines the sweet/tart flavor native to Michigan cherries with a darker, roasted taste of a stout. The only other cherry brew I’ve sampled before this one is Sam Adams’ Cherry Wheat, and I was curious to see what cherries would lend a stout. Poured from a regular old 16 oz. bottle, which had chilled overnight in the fridge, the Cherry Stout filled up the pint glass. Like almost every beer I pour, it went straight into the bottom of the glass with no tilt and quickly developed a big old three-finger tan head. Very cool large-bubble cascade occurred, which was kind of fun to watch. I let it settle for a few moments and topped it off. Pretty neat.
Smells like an average stout, and I couldn’t pick up on the cherries in the nose, which I guess is not a surprise since cherries are not an aromatic fruit. The roasted tones dominate, hops are nowhere to be found. Tiny little brownish flecks float throughout the thick dark mix … gotta be from the cherries. They will settle at the bottom, but it will take a while. I’ll be done before they do.
This stout is tart. If you do not like sour/tart in your beer, you can scratch this one off your list. It is not puckering tart, but not subtly tart either. It’s tart like a good cherry pie. At 7.0% ABV, there’s some sweet to compliment the tart, and that prevents this beer from being gross. I actually like the mouthfeel and general experience of sipping. It is subtly carbonated, which helps bring out the flavors but not distract from them. The usual roasted flavors (coffee and chocolate, namely) are there, but mostly in the finish, which in my mind has a nuttiness to it as well, like how your mouth would taste ten minutes after eating a PB & J.
I just can’t see myself turning to this beer at any point, for any reason. I like Michigan cherries in my pie, not my beer. I commend Bell’s for putting together a not-bad concoction using local ingredients. It’s a creative beer, but it doesn’t make me a believer.
Grade: B-Bell's Cherry Stout,