Chicory Stout turns out to be one of Dogfish Head’s oldest beers. I didn’t know that it was first brewed way back in in 1995, and here I am a fan of American stouts only trying it for the first time in 2011! Better late than never, right?
Seems the late, great Michael Jackson enjoyed it too. I don’t have the cardboard packaging the Chicory Stout ships in, but there is a quote on it attributed to him that read “I enjoyed Chicory Stout” or something very much like that. It wasn’t a ringing endorsement though because he could say the same thing about the color red or a nice cool glass of water too.
Still, that Micheal Jackson acknowledged the beer has to count for something!
Chicory Stout is Dogfish Head’s Winter Seasonal brew, and is only available in bottles during November and December, so if you’re looking to score some, you better get your butt in gear!
So what’s this Chicory stuff, and what makes this beer so off-centered anyway? Well, from what I can tell, chicory is a plant that has a root that when dried, roasted and ground up, it can be used as a caffeine-free substitute for coffee. OK, so this is something of a plant pseudo-coffee stout then? Yes, except that they also included some actual Mexican coffee!
In addition to that, we get licorice root and St. John’s Wort. I wonder if the St. Johns Wort adds flavor, or if its used as an anti-depressant?
OK, so this beer sounds like its right up my alley. I enjoy beers that have some coffee notes, but not necessarily coffee beers. I like stouts. I like licorice and hey, who couldn’t use a little St. John’s wort these days? Besides, Micheal Jackson ‘enjoyed’ this beer too! I’ll gloss over the look of the beer except to say it looks appealing. “Dark goodness under a bone-white head” sums it up well. (Thanks DFH label-writers! Perfect!)
The aroma is mostly coffee, but not too much. I’d call some chocolate too, some mellow sweet like caramel and roasty malt. So far so good. Getting on to the taste, I’m going with coffee up front. Again, not overpowering like the Sam Adams Black & Brew I recently reviewed which was way too espresso for my liking. Chicory Stout was more balanced, subtle bitter coffee and not in your face espresso. I liked it. The beer was balanced again by roasty malts, chocolate, and yeah now that I’ve read up on it the licorice does seem to come through a bit but only in the aftertaste.
I found the beer to be pretty smooth, not overly carbonated, but the body was a bit thin for a stout. Made for an easy drink that would be a great choice with desserts that had chocolate or coffee involved. I wish I had some Tiramisu right about now!
At $8.99 for a 4-pack, its not a great value for what it is. Which, in my mind is a very nice coffee stout, but not something I’d rush out for next year, nor am I too upset anymore that it took me 16 years to try it for the first time. Perhaps the St. John’s Wort has help me accept this.
Three stars in my book. Good, not great.