Sunday Brew Review: Innis & Gunn Original
It’s only 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
While I don’t have to worry about stray probe droids or wampa attacks, I can’t help but feel like I’m trapped on Hoth. I keep starting my car, just to make sure that its hyperdrive hasn’t been deactivated. After all, I’m going to have to get the fuck out of the driveway once Vader and his crew roll up.
They don’t mess around.
Okay, so I don’t have to worry about the Dark Lord of the Sith tossing my dessicated corpse into a snowbank. But I also don’t have the benefit of taking a dip in a bacta tank. So how am I, a regular fanboy without any mastery of the Force, supposed to survive the frozen hell that is the Bostonian January?
Why, with the sweet warmth of alcohol! On this early Sunday afternoon, I’m tossing back a bottle of the oak-aged elixir that is Innis & Gunn Original.
C’mon Chewie, punch it!
I’ve only drank one other beer produced by Innis & Gunn, but I was blown away. From what I can gather with haphazard readings of their website, these Scottish brewers are dedicated to imbuing their potables with extra powers by maturing them in liquor casks. In their own words, the Innis & Gunn Original is a product of meticulous care:
Its lengthy 77-day maturation imparts flavours of toffee, vanilla and oak that perfectly complement the beer’s backbone of luscious malt and fruity hop notes.
The oak helps to give Innis & Gunn Original its appealing colour and also mellow the alcohol character, so although the beer is 6.6%, it’s very smooth and easy to drink.
Without further adieu, it is time to get the beer into my gut-bone so that I could ward off the devilish New England winds. Or, at the very least, catch a good enough buzz to fall asleep listening to Pet Sounds and start to genuinely believe that I can will myself to Southern California.
Innis & Gunn Original pours into my glass smoothly, settling as a translucent honey-hued beverage that just demands to be sipped. This beauty if furthered by the notable head, whose color is more unsullied cream than the frothed cappucino that often crowns wonder-brews. If there was a just God that gave good people rewards instead of diseases, He’d make paint sunsets with the amber shades of Innis & Gunn Original.
In terms of scent, this oak-aged beaut is undeniably sweet. When I put my nose over the mouth of the glass, I detect traces of toffee and caramel, odors that don’t overpower but certainly please. When I start to over-intellectualize the smell, I believe it to be reminiscent of the (nonalcoholic) qualities of bourbon.
Again, I might just be projecting my dreams and wishes and drunken-stupor fantasies onto a young Scottish lad of a beer.
With my first few sips of Innis & Gunn Original, I’m not even sure that I’m drinking a beer. The flavor is sweet and dense, with vanillas and light oaks giving each other soul-kisses and gentle gropes. Additionally, I want to say that a smidge of honey hops onto this proverbial make-out couch as well, perhaps to take a Polaroid photo of the whole sordid affair.
Although brandishing an ABV of 6.6%, there is nary an acerbic hint to be found in any given mouthful, which makes for extremely easy drankin’! This drinkability is furthered by the incredibly smooth mouthfeel. With the carbonation being so light and the body so rich, I could’ve sworn that I was drinking cream soda. This is a brew that a drinker is almost hesitant to swallow, as the alcoholic palate-bath it provides is fucking divine.
From December to March, the area that I call home is a frozen wasteland. And since I’m not a figment of the Star Wars universe, I don’t have the privilege of calling my home Hoth, the one-time refuge of the Rebel Alliance. No tauntauns, bacta tanks, wampas, AT-ATs, or Dack-deaths for me.
Fortunately, I get to drink Innis & Gunn Original.
The grade: A