The Name Says It All
A Review of Happy Ending by SweetWater Brewing Co.
Posted on 1/2/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
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So the end of the year was upon us, and I had to find the perfect brew to send it off in style with. And while there are countless variables that probably should have been taken into account, I used three. First off, it had to be a trusted brewery. Seeing as how I have never had anything but good experiences with SweetWater Brewery, they totally fit the bill. Next, it had to be a stout, because I love stouts and that's really all the justification I need. And finally, a fitting name would be greatly useful for reviewing purposes as well as personal entertainment. With it being the end of the year, and considering I had plans of being very happy, how could I go wrong with the ''Happy Ending'' imperial stout?

For review purposes, this bottle was from 2010

When I popped the top on this one and poured it, my eyes were as happy as could be. Overall, Happy Ending was black in the glass, and only gave way to some dark mahogany coloration around the edges when held directly in front of a light source. The head was thick and creamy looking with a good dark beige coloration, and while it didn't stick around for long(a good sign of the 9% ABV to come), it did leave some spotted lacing throughout the session. When I finally got my nose close to it, I was greeted by a bit of a surprise. There was a very floral hops aroma that while unexpected, was very inviting. It was a bit earthy with hints of pine resin, but in no way overpowering or scary. You may ask yourself how this could be, and I will gladly answer that question. As soon as you accept the hops greeting, a rich layer of chocolate is quick to follow. After a bit of sniff digging and glass warming, some general coffee and malt notes can be found, as well as a hint of smoke to round out the interesting bouquet.

The first taste of it is a complete script flip from the aroma. The first thing that grabs you is a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, that is accompanied by an upfront pop of dark chocolate. You really get a moment or two to chew on it before any other flavors start to come through. When they do, you can pick up on some plum and raisin notes, along with cocoa powder and mild coffee bitterness. And just when you start to really enjoy all the traditional stout flavors that are dancing around in your glass, a surprising bit of hops bitterness and bite sneaks in and greets you in a very non-traditional, yet very enjoyable way.

To say that Happy Ending is a complex stout would be an understatement. SweetWater Brewing Company's decision to dry hop this monster stout was nothing short of brewing brilliance. While far from a typical stout, Happy Ending is one of those rare beers that takes a stylistic leap that all drinkers with an open mind, new and old alike, could really enjoy. Hopheads have a chance to sink their teeth into a stout with some palate friendly flavors familiar to them, while more generally experienced drinkers could make it a great study beer. There's a lot going on in it, and it can keep your attention from start to finish. And finally, those new to better beer could enjoy it as a very non-abusive ''goal'' beer. You may not be able to drink several of them in one session, but simply getting through one could easily show you what the better beer world has in store for you. So if you see it, grab it and take it for a spin. The only thing about this beer that's not happy, is the end itself. When you get to the bottom of the glass, you are indeed sad. But have no fear! They come in 6 packs. Happy time all over again!

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Happy Ending by SweetWater Brewing Co.
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