Excellence pairs with everything
A Review of Malpais Stout by La Cumbre Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/14/2014 by Chops
To adequately critique the quality of any beer, you have to drink it outside of its comfort zone. What I mean by this is that most beer styles cater to certain situations. If you're relaxing under a flannel blanket next to a roaring fireplace, chances are that you are drinking a complex winter warmer out of a tulip glass. If you're at the beach lounging in a flimsy plastic chair, you are probably drinking a simple lager out of a Solo cup. So when I recently ordered the La Cumbre Malpais Stout, I want you to fully understand the significance in that I was escaping the summer desert heat at a lovely Italian restaurant. Made no sense, but dammit, I was craving a stout.

On the flip side, the La Cumbre Brewing Company has quickly become one of my favorite New Mexican breweries. Their pint cans have become mainstays in my refrigerator and I start getting anxious when my supply of Elevated IPAs dwindle. High quality is a La Cumbre given. So going into their Malpais Stout, I had a lot of confidence to back up my craving. The fact that I paired it with an artisan shrimp pizza is wildly confusing, but can be forgiven. Maybe.

In the glass, this beer had a jet black coloration. It came with a creamy tan head that had really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a blast of dark chocolates, coffee roast, molasses, and a hint of vanilla. The aroma was very strong and tantalizing. As stout introductions go, it doesn't get much better than that. I grinned ear to ear, winked at my shrimp pizza, and dove into my delightful mismatch.

I was immediately tongue-slapped by roasted malty goodness. Big notes of mocha-like coffee and baker's chocolate. Rounding out the flavor profile were dark fruits, sweet molasses, vanilla, charred nuts, and a whiff of campfire smoke. It was very complex for a mid-tier stout. Unfortunately its aggressive flavor train overpowered the hop profile, but that can be viewed both positively and negatively. The beer's solid medium body started off creamy smooth on the palate, then quickly transitioned into a dry aggression. The finish was a tad chalky and exited with a long bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Overall, La Cumbre's Malpais Stout was a complex and rewarding brew. It had a very big flavor punch and was a lot of fun to dissect. This is a brew that I can easily recommend to most beer fans, but I must caution novices due to its aggressive tendencies. This isn't a sports bar Guinness, it's a big boy beer, so give it the respect it deserves. To be perfectly honest, Malpais Stout tasted and felt more like a strong Imperial Stout. So in that regards, it's a great beer for when you crave big flavor, but without a boozy bite. I greatly enjoyed this nectar and will definitely be enjoying more in the near future. Once again, I must tip my drinking hat to La Cumbre for a job well done. Cheers!

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Malpais Stout by La Cumbre Brewing Co.
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