Posts Tagged ‘Two Brothers’

As a general rule, I really dislike stout winter beers. Last year, I reviewed Magic Hat’s Howl and it reminded me yet again why I shy away from this winter dominating style. There is always too much malt, too much chocolate, or too much coffee flavors that I always feel like I’m eating dessert.

I love dessert. But I don’t want it bottled.

But that was last year and given that the world may be ending in a few short weeks, I thought I might as well give another stout an honest shot. I found a 6 pack of Two Brothers Northwind inside their variety pack sold at Cosco. I cracked open my first one later in the week and had an epiphany.

I really hope the world doesn’t end.

Two Brother Northwind pours coal black and forms a cola like head on top. I’ve seen dirty white head before, but Northwind seems to extract color from the beer to color its foam. ¬†Northwind poured very thin, almost watery. There was very little carbonation. Like other stouts, the aroma bursts of chocolate, coffee, and sweet malts. Already there was nothing that would indicate this was going to go any different than the stouts of the past.

I also want to take a side bar and get you on my side. Think about it. This potentially was going to be the last black beer I would ever try before the apocalypse and the watery appearance and familiar overwhelming chocolate/coffee aroma just made me sad.

I took a deep breath and sighed before taking my first sip. Yes, I’m not being melodramatic here. I actually sighed aloud. But something was different this time. Something was…good. Northwind tasted almost creamy and melted over my taste buds filling my palette with sweet malt and roasted mocha flavors. But this time, neither of these flavors overwhelmed the others. They worked together in a wonderful harmony.

This is without a doubt the best stout I have ever had.

Two Brothers North Wind can be found in 6 packs for around $9 in only in the winter months between November and February. Northwind is listed as a 9% ABV beer, but it did not feel nearly that heavy. Two Brothers is located in northern Illinois and currently distributes only to Ohio, New York, Minnesota, and Illinois only. This is the fourth Two Brothers beer I’ve reviewed and I have yet to find something about this microbrewery that I generally dislike. Northwind is another fine example of the high quality brews they continue to put out.

Grade: A

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I may get fire bombed for this, but I find the French to be the epitome of civilization. I say this, of course, as a generalization because 1) I come from a French background, 2) I know there are counter culture within the French culture that play against this, and 3) the French are generally portrayed as nasty, nasty people. But when I first tasted Domaine DuPage French Style Country Ale, I couldn’t help but be transported to the French countryside where the elderly are respected, the villagers are cordial to each other, and there isn’t a need for anything fussy.

Domaine DuPage pours a deep orange-red, almost the color of a perfect sunset. There was very little carbonation rising from the glass resulting in very little foam. The aroma indicated a fresh, clean taste, with very little overwhelming hop or fruit flavor. My first taste was mystical as described above, but it was the middle of the glass that helped me to see what this ale really was all about. If you think about the French countryside and the life of its inhabitants, you have to first block out all of your misconceptions of the French and everything you have ever heard about Parisians (they are what give the French a bad name). French country life is a humble life, simple, but full of life and daily appreciation for seeing the sun every morning. This ale captures that by putting its floral hop flavors out in front and backing this up with the taste of fresh baked bread and orchard fruits such as apple and pear. While none of these may rise to the top at any given time, they work together in harmony to create a pleasant embrace.

This particular beer may be brewed and bottle in Midwestern USA, but it captures perfectly the essence of what I only imagine is French countryside life. It’s like seeing an old friend after so many years and picking up right where you left off or like spending an entire day taking a stroll through the fields and rolling hills without a care in the world as to who may be calling your cell phone or what’s the latest gossip. This is a simple beer that has the power to remind all of us what we’re missing when life gets a little bit too much.

Domaine DuPage is an easy drinking beer that does not take it’s toll given the moderate 5.4% ABV. A six pack will run you around $9 and I do hope Two Brothers get more distribution so other parts of the country can experience their superb quality beers. As everyday drinking beers goes, this is a wonderful beer that I highly recommend.

Grade: A