Review Date 7/2/2014 Last Updated 7/24/2014
Better late than never, that's what I always say. Actually, as an official card-carrying member of the Fraternal Order of Procrastinators, I generally have no problem with delays. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow, that's my motto. Once, while attending a college economics class, a professor of mine (no doubt annoyed with late papers from the students) announced "Today we're going to talk about procrastination." To which I responded, without skipping a beat, "Can we talk about that tomorrow?'. Yes sirree, you'll never see me in a hurry.
Now that I've said all that, I have to qualify that by saying my theory doesn't work so well when applied to beer. You see, last year I happened by Taco Mac one particular pint glass night, and got a Sierra Nevada glass commemorating the new brewery they were opening in Mills River, NC. It says "Coming 2013", and despite my usual penchant for things mercurial in nature, I couldn't wait.
Except, of course, the brewery didn’t open in 2013. Construction was delayed by bad weather, and its only now, July of 2014, that I’m getting to try my very first beer from the new Sierra Nevada brewery: Sierra Nevada Rain Check Spiced Stout. Here are some details from the back label:
Rain Check Spiced Stout is our answer to the merciless wet weather that plagued and slowed the construction of our new brewery in Mills River, NC. This dark, rich, and roasty beer helps us forget the delays-a Rain Check we’ll take anytime.
OK, the weather was very rainy here last year. Being only a few hours from Mills River, I can attest to that. So we’ll give Sierra Nevada a pass, since we’re so darned happy they opened a brewery out here. It’s a great sign for the future of craft beer that so many established craft brewers are opening second locations out east.
More from Sierra Nevada, from the neck label:
Rain Check is a rich, toasty stout with flavors of burnt sugar and dark roasted malt spiked with ginger and lime to celebrate the end of dark and rainy days.
Sierra Nevada Rain Check Spiced Stout has an alcohol content of 8.9% by volume. My bottles were packaged on May 28th, 2014, and I paid $9.99 for the 4-pack. That’s my only quibble, they could have given us two more bottles for that price. The beer is only available in a small area, North Carolina and some surrounding states.
Sierra Nevada Rain Check Spiced Stout pours to a dark brownish to black (not opaque) color with a thick creamy tan head formation and a surprisingly congruous nose of roasted barley and limes. Taking a sip, the beer has a thick, rich mouthfeel that slides over the tongue and coats the mouth like the finest barrel of sweet light crude. There are definite notes of light licorice and lighter espresso here, brown sugar too, but the dark maltiness mostly manifests itself as a creamy, smooth dark chocolaty character just like the chocolate pudding your mom used to make on the stove, skins and all.
The spices are subtle, just enough to accent and add character but don't dominate at all. The bright citrusy lime and pungent ginger complement each other and work better than I could have expected with the dark roasty malts here. The finish is roasty bitter, with a touch of alcohol warmth and perhaps grassy hops, but the beer does not seem as strong as it is. It’s almost too easy to drink.
If Rain Check Spiced Stout is any indication of the special treats awaiting us from Sierra Nevada’s new Mills River brewery, then we in the south are in for some goodies, indeed. Welcome, Sierra Nevada. We’re glad you came by.
Update July 24, 2014: Tonight I got to enjoy Rain Check on tap at my local Taco Mac. Much the same as the bottled product, I think, but the ginger did seem to come out a bit more. It was very delicious indeed, if a bit pricey at $7.50 for an 11 ounce glass.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.