10 February 2008

Cooperstown Strike Out Stout/Benchwarmer Porter (NY)

Two dark beers from Cooperstown Brewing Co. tasted side-by-side. I liked their Pride of Milford Ale, which was an interesting beer of the sorts that isn't too common among US breweries. The stout and porter, however, compete in crowded fields in their styles.

Strike Out Stout: This pours very dark and opaque, with a fairly modest head. It smells stout-ish to me, akin to the dry Irish stouts. It has a standard roastiness to it -- coffee mostly -- that turns a bit smoky near the end. There isn't too much in the way of hop bitterness. The body is on the light side, which will be a deal-breaker for some, but I don't mind. Carbonation is restrained. It's only 4.6% ABV and makes for a good sessions stout.

Benchwarmer Porter: I've noticed other reviewers claiming the stout was over-carbonated, but for me, it's the porter that's out of control. Even with a careful pour I wind up with a massive head that overstays its welcome. The fizziness infects the body as well. Add the look (redder than the stout and translucent) and the taste (pretty sweet) and it really reminds me of cola. Admittedly, the sweetness is perhaps more molasses than corn syrup, and to its credit there's some roasted flavors underneath. As it warms up, I think I detect some butterscotch from the breweries' use of Ringwood yeast. This one has over 6% ABV, and I think there are a lot of flavors there buried beneath the fizz. But it's just too close to a cola alco-pop for me.

So I prefer Strike Out Stout and intend to drink it again. At both ratebeer and Beer Advocate, however, reviewers prefer the porter. Few reviewers note the excessive carbonation, so I'm wondering if there's a lot of variation among bottles.


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