Typically when our team samples beer to write this fine article, we go out and purchase the beer or look at our in-house stock and find one that jumps out at us. We do this so that you, the consumer is able to understand what drove us to the particular brewery or style. It may be a really catchy name or an eye-grabbing label, or one that we saw advertised in our beer magazines that piqued our interests.
Well, this sample is a bit different. This month’s beer was sent to us from O’so Brewing Company of Plover, Wisconsin. Because this beer “arrived” at our place, we chose to take a different approach to the tasting portion. We did not read the label (other than the name) and did zero research on it prior to pouring it. Here is what we found when we tasted a 750 ml bottle of Goldilock’s Revenge.
With a name such as Goldilock’s Revenge, we all assumed a golden colored beer. We quickly realized that was not the case. This beer poured very dark, dark-as-night dark actually, with an appealing creamy brown head, and great foam stability. With a look at the label we see that this is a Smoked Imperial Stout aged in used oak brandy barrels. The label depicts Goldilock’s sporting an angry smile while she holds up a decapitated stuffed bear’s head in a revengeful manner. Very fitting for what’s inside.
We used standard 4 ounce straight sided glasses for the sampling and allowed the beer to warm up to about 50 degrees. Our team differed on the nose of this sample. Three of us indicated a light or nondescript nose with faint smells of cedar. The other three (including myself) sensed a nice complexity of raisins, tobacco, chocolate, currant, coffee and a pleasant smokiness. I personally think that the nose showcased all components of the beer; smoke, Stout malts, brandy, fruit and wood. Very impressive thus far!
The flavor profile is quite a bit more complex than its nose. The smokiness is obvious as well as the roasted malt characters and the assertive bitterness from the hops. The flavors leeched from the wood barrel certainly has brandy notes paired with tart cherry, ash and bakers chocolate. The higher alcohol content has a warming sensation as it slides so blissfully down your throat. As this beer finishes, the oakiness, and fruit really jump out. The body is medium and it finishes roasty and dry with the alcohol showing presence once again with its warming capabilities. Definitely not harsh or astringent, just very pleasurable.
Goldilock’s Revenge should age quite well with the many layers blending together, and even better over time as long as the area it is stored in remains dark and on the cool side.
Now let’s discuss the fine folks that are behind this beautiful brew. Marc and Katina Buttera began their life together in school and started a family earlier than most. At age 19 they moved with their son Dylan to Stevens Point to attend Midstate Technical College and enjoy the birth of another child Daniel. Marc graduated in Mechanical Design and Katina in accounting. As if they weren’t busy enough, Marc also started home brewing with guidance from a neighbor.
Marc’s profession sent the family to Tennessee, but the beauty we all know as ‘Wisconsin’ drew them back. While they continued to play the corporate game, they began moonlighting by opening a home brew store called Point Brew Supply. After outgrowing the 200 square feet of their original shop, they moved to another location in Point. Their hard work and devotion continued on a successful path and in 2007 moved the home brew store to Plover, Wisconsin and added O’so Brewing Company to the mix. Again growth continued and another move was imminent, this time to Village Park in Plover. This allowed Marc and Katina to expand their brewery operations and their home brew store, but also allowed them to add a Tap Room. Their Tap Room is a must-visit to experience the many fine beers they brew as well as a nice variety of guest beers brewed by other Wisconsin breweries.
O’so brewing has always done a wonderful job with their beers, but what stands out the most is their commitment to the brewing industry. As we at Stone Arch were working diligently on our laboratory, many (and I mean many) questions continued to surface. After a quick conversation with Marc, Stone Arch Head Brewer Connor was invited to Plover to work side-by-side with his Quality Control Manager to learn the art of laboratory procedures. As if that wasn’t nice enough, Marc also sent Connor back with invaluable documents to help our laboratory get jump started, and instituted almost immediately upon return. For that we have deep gratitude for Marc and his lovely wife Katina.
FINAL WORD: Support really good people that brew really good beer….support O’so Brewing Company! Goldilock’s Revenge is a beer that you will not want to pass up. Whether you age it, or consume it right away, you are truly in for a treat.