Brewery: Dark Horse (MI)Style: Stout
If you are one of the blessed souls who reads most of my beer reviews —or even if you've skimmed quickly through my review page — you have probably noticed that I don't review too many fruit beers. I am generally not a huge fan, unless it's a sour beer. Even then, I often prefer the "plain" versions. However, I think all things have their place, and fruit beers, like any style, can be done well. A blueberry stout is certainly one way to my heart: the flavor profiles are perfectly complimentary to each other, and I enjoy each immensely on its own. A stout, unless totally botched, isn't likely to get washed out by a sugary syrupy fruit flavor, and that black and blue flavor combination is just innately appealing. Balance almost seems to be a given.
Tres Blueberry pours dark and opaque, perfectly stout-like, and yet... wait a minute, wait a minute, what is this wonderful cascade of ripe blueberry aroma? This natural, meadow-like aroma, from a stout? Okay, Dark Horse, I'm impressed. There's still a solid roasty stout character in the aroma, intertwined nicely with fragrant blueberry. But if the beer tastes like candy, it's still a loss!
Taste: the standard chocolate, coffee and roast, but well balanced, with a bit of burnt bitterness backing it up. Subtle blueberry — really, just hints running through, with a bit of gently sweet fruit flavor in the finish that lingers ever-so-slightly. Great amount of roast. Great deep dark malt character. And still, at the same time, great mild fruit character. This is how fruit beers should be brewed, sour or clean or whatnot: simply adding a small extra dimension to the (hopefully multiple) dimensions already there. It should taste natural.
If you want an overwhelmingly blueberry-tasting beer, this will disappoint you. If you want simply a traditional stout, well, why did you get this? But Tres Blueberry proves that fruit can co-exist with malts, enhancing, not obfuscating. Both work, and both work together. This can't help but feel like a dessert beer, given how much of a delectable treat it is, but it won't make you sick to the stomach after.
Availability: 12 ounce bottle. Winter release.