I'm not a fan of cold weather, but I am most certainly a fan of cold-weather drinking. Give me alllll the stouts and porters. So the other day, when I saw Magic Hat's seasonal stout, Heart of Darkness, I decided to give it a try.
Magic Hat, based out of Vermont, are mostly known in these parts for their #9 "mostly pale ale," which probably wouldn't be my cup of tea -- I've never actually tried it myself but I am very hit or miss on pale ales. But this one was pretty good. From Magic Hat's website:
Filled with the howling of black dogs that haunt the long-forgotten shadows of the human soul. This dense liquid-silk summoned hope from hibernation and balanced winter's endless white snows with a rich swirl of creamy black rapture.
This brew is 5.7 percent alcohol by volume, and available during the winter (if I get more specific dates I'll add them).
This is an American-style stout, so it's not as dry as a true Irish one. The bouquet is similar to a high-percentage cacao dark chocolate -- slightly bitter, but not overpowering. On the front end, you get a very full-bodied, roasted coffee flavor, that lightly fades into the more typical dark chocolate. Rich, but not too sweet. Perfectly good session beer, as it's not too filling. Especially on a cold night. Out of our 1-5 scale, I give this one a strong 3.5 stars.