So my birthday is finally over and I’m sitting here weighed down by BBQ chicken and sausages. However never one to quit early, I thought I would have one last crack at loading up on the good stuff before hitting the sack. A decadent late night snack, matching a piece of fruit cake with a Renaissance Craftsman. It’s an antidote to the truck loads of pilsner and IPA I’ve been into lately.
I always have a Renaissance Craftsman or Stonecutter hiding at the back of my fridge waiting for that opportune moment. Neither are the sort of beer you want to drink every day. But every now and then I need one bad.
The Renaissance Craftsman pours jet black. So black in fact that holding it up to the light doesn’t change the colour at all. Just good old fashioned black with a small dark coffee coloured head that quickly subsides into the inky blackness.
The aroma is incredible. Fresh coffee roasting beside a pile of chopped dark chocolate. The taste doesn’t disappoint, starting with a mild bitterness and dissolving quickly into sweetness which releases the sort of flavours most stouts can only aspire to. There is roasted coffee, hints of chocolate and vanilla washing through on a creamy mouthfeel.
I get bored with that ashy taste some Stouts get, they aim for roasted coffee and end up in ash tray territory. To my taste the Craftsman nails the roasted coffee flavours perfectly.
Oatmeal gives the Renaissance Craftsman a velvety smoothness. This is a very rich drop which leaves a film of coffee tasting alcoholic stickiness on your front teeth. As the label describes this would be totally appropriate with beef or Venison. Even though it’s rich with a velvety texture it isn’t large of body. Others have criticised this, but I think it all balances out ok. If this had a Guinness like thickness to it the whole thing might be to much to stomach.
This is going to polarise those tasting it. If you like rich, velvety coffee flavours, like Kahlua without to much thickness, this will be your thing. If you like a thick Stout with solid manly flavour this might be a bit rich.
Personally I think this is one of my favourites from the Renaissance range.