We......wait, I just re-read that first sentence.
Please let me try again.
So, I spent some time tonight critiquing Uncle Steve's Irish Stout and the 4 Elf Winter Warmer Ale.
The stout (#697), from Shorts Brewing Company, was a visual trick. It is the kind of drink you could pass to someone without telling them what it is and they might have a slug thinking it was a Coke. Of course, they could only do it if they never took a whif. Once they did that, there is no way they could be fooled. The smell of chocolate and a slight burned "something" would be a dead giveaway. That chocolate (and coffee) sensation carried through the taste and into the finish, as well. A hint of vanilla was at the finish, too. But, that overriding "burned" sensation never really left. On top of all that, the carbonation was way too high (in my opinion) while the body was not even close to what I would expect from a stout. It simply was not thick enough. In fact, it wasn't thick at all. I have to give a 3 out of 5. If I was in a bad mood, I might give it a 2. Contrary to the label, I would suggest that Leprechaun magic is not back.
The Elf (#698) hails from the Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall, Michigan (not to be confused with the Marshall Brewing Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma). You may recall that I visited this place a few weeks back. While the beers that night was pretty damned good, I'm afraid the Elf comes up a bit, um, short (sorry). I think the brewers may have "low elf esteem" and thought it was a good idea to dump every known spice into this beer. While the texture (creamy) and carbonation were perfectly balanced, the addition of clove, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, salt, motor oil, bells from red shoes, and kitchen sink extract were a bit much. By the time I finished it, I was all spiced out - you might argue my elfactory nerve was trashed. While not really noticeable, this beer apparently has a high alcohol content. If you drink too much, you might suffer from a "elf inflicted wound". Call a designated driver. They'll be the one in the mini-van. 3 out of 5.