Howe Sound surprised the beer geek culture last week by dropping Pothole Filler (their Imperial Stout) upon us a few months early. It turns out this change in production schedule is the result of Howe Sound fully tripling their production capacity this year. The word from HS is that we can expect their seasonals to, overall, be much less seasonal.
A big reason for the increased production is Howe Sound’s recent penetration (heh, penetration) of the Ontario market. This might also explain the wording on the side of the bottle, extolling the virtues of their brewing process, which utilizes “Coast Mountain” water. Locally, we like to call this “tap water.” I guess we have it good, though.
So what about the beer? The recipe is quite different from last years, at least on the surface. Twelve months ago we were treated to a giant whack of alcohol and then something stoutish, while this year all that booze is hiding behind a massive heap of roasted malt. Lots of toasted cereal flavours here, on a rich creamy mouthful, backed up by something not-quite-licorice-y on the nose. Sharp, bitter coffee rounds out the palate, giving this a bit of an unfinished feel.
Overall this is a decent–if not great–imperial stout. However, it is the only brewed-in-BC option if you want to keep your pint of high-octane black local. Rumour has it that Parallel 49 is doing something decidedly Impy sometime soon, and come the New Year all true BC geeks will start lining up outside our local stores for the annual release of the provinces reigning beer king: Driftwood Singularity.
Until those two rear their heads, though, this is the only game in town unless you want to go Yankee.
|Brewery||Howe Sound Brewpub|
|SOA Now||No seal awarded|
|SOA Potential||No seal awarded|
|Drink||Now; cellaring will not likely improve this, but I won’t stop you.|
|Best non-drinking application||Brain panning burglars with the bottle|
|Cost||$10-13 per 1L bottle|
|Similar Beers||Driftwood Singularity, Elysian Dragonstooth|
|Chuck says||Since this is the only Imp Stout available right now, buy one and drink it. The second another good Impy comes out switch to that.|