It wouldn't be fair to say that I got off on the wrong foot with Arcadia but let's just say it does seem like standing on shaky ground sometimes when going for something they brew. In past experiences there was their pale wheat which flavorings tasted tart (but not in a good way) and an IPA that hardly had any hop taste to it & seemed more like an amber ale than anything else. Since I am a firm believer in supporting those in the state I live in (and the state can use all the support it can get. A look at it's unemployment stats is all the explanation one needs) and the colder weather meaning it's stout season-it was a good time as any to these Battle Creek beer makers another shot.
What I thought was a soft pour was apparently not soft enough. This foamed up like crazy. Could only get about half the bottle in the glass and the head was rising up over the top of the rim and took awhile to calm down. What I could see of the beer it was the dark brown you'd expect from a stout with a (huge) chocolate malt top. Someone went a little too crazy in the carbonation department. Though this states it's an oatmeal stout the thing you smell the most is alcohol, which is weird because it's not that high of an alcohol content (5.5%), along with a bit of coffee and vanilla. Not really any oat aroma at all which I find kinda odd.
The first noticed in the taste was a kind of bitterness not usually found in stouts. A bit of the oat shows up here. You could say roasty but almost bordering on burnt than anything else. The bitterness lingers too long in the aftertaste as well. Not the most appealing stouts I've tried to say the least. It's a bummer because I would really like to get behind what Arcadia is doing but so far everything I've tried by 'em has left me, for the most part, disappointed.
With Webberville's Michigan Brewing Company's Superior Stout a soft pour didn't cause a gigantic foam explosion that the Starboard did. Hardly any head at all actually and it dissipated pretty quickly. Deep dark brown in color, espresso and a earthy malt in the scent. The scent and color is the best thing about this though. It did have a coffee thing to it like a stout should have but it was like coffee from a gas station where the pot has been sitting on the warming tray a couple hours too long. There's too much of a vinegary hoppiness all through this that steps heavily on any of this beer's "stoutness" (even if this is suppose to be a dry stout which I don't think it is) especially in the back of the throat (and this coming from a serious hop fan). Not the right balance at all. It also seemed a bit too thin and dammit, I want my stouts to be hearty and this just isn't. Something just ain't right about it but I poured the wife a glass, because of the interest she's seemed to taken in the darker beers lately, to get an opinion. One sip and her nosed turned up and I saw the look of unapproving on her face. "I take it this one is not a winner?" was all she could say. What else could I do but nod in agreement? She said in one sentence is what it took me all of the above to to sum up.
MBC is one of those breweries where if they do something right they do it at 110%, the their Celis line which are damn beautiful, but when they go for a standards they're just that...Standard and average (if you're lucky). Winter is just starting so I have more than a few months to sample some of the other Michigan (as well as other parts of the country) makers of stouts but don't go out of your way looking for these while on beer hunting adventures.