Friday, July 11, 2014

Still Life from Beachwood BBQ and Brewing

Beachwood BBQ's menu references tattoos in its description of Still Life...

...does that mean it will be regrettable??

Still Life smoked stout, Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach, CA
8.8 ABV
69 IBUs 

Last weekend was Beachwood BBQ's third anniversary and though this writer missed that (and, apparently not many else did), some of their best remained on draft the weekend after. 

This includes Still Life, Beachwood's smoked oatmeal stout. 

Besides being unique like a tattoo, the menu describes Still Life thusly:

... a smoked double oat stout that celebrates this idea [uniqueness]. Brewed with house-smoked malts and toasted oats, Still Life is a luscious and rich stout with subtle accents of smoke. Be still, soak in the nuanced flavors and aromas, and enjoy life!

TheCraftBeerGuru gives in to Beachwood's command.  Let life enjoyment commence!

Still Life pours opaque, with an inch-tall head rising in the tulip.  This topping is dimply like a golf ball, and off-white in shade. Intermittent traces of this head cling to the inner glass like dirty soap bubbles to the side of a tub. 

The aroma is magnificent in its lavishness, and though having a moist connotation, still conjures thoughts of a freshly opened tin of powdered cocoa. 

Similarly, there is a neat Nesquick characteristic in the flavor profile.  It's quickly chased by the promised, rustic charred backbone.  The smokiness, though, is a bit odd, with an unexpected wet tree bark hint. 

A highlight is a very subtle but welcome velvety caramel undertone.   

The texture is surprisingly thin with middling carbonation that pops up in the back of the mouth and just slightly more than mildly tingles the roof. 

Still Life's rather abundant hoppiness is not unexpected but, perhaps, overdone.  Consequently, the overall profile is as similar to a Black IPA as it is a big, rich stout.  The same holds true for the aftertaste, which leaves a lingering, gin-like dryness. 

Still Life is a flawed, yet thoroughly acceptable beer.  It would be made better, if it:
  • Was a bit thicker; either creamier or more chewy
  • Toned down the IBUs slightly
  • Featured more of that caramel silkiness recommends Still Life, with a 3 star (of 5) rating.  Perhaps unfortunately, this beer is too naturally compared to its tremendous Beachwood brethren. While Still Life fails to achieve the rarefied class of, say, Melrose or Mocha Machine, it remains, nevertheless, a worthwhile pleasure.  

Still Life, if by most other breweries, would be their best.  Yet, only above average by Beachwood's standard; a credit to the remarkable level of their quality.