So this weekend, aside from trying Left Hand Milk Stout, I also tried Young’s Double Chocolate, and Abita’s Jockamo IPA.
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
IS IT GOOD?
No. I would actually drink a Budweiser Black Crown over this.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Obviously, it was roasty, and tasted somewhat of chocolate. On the other hand, I felt it was far too tart for a stout. Acidity was very high, and overbearing, especially when chocolate and stout are things which you associate with something bitter. The mouthfeel was also watery to me. It was like drinking weak, cheap coffee, you know, with that annoying tang that shouldn’t be in a good coffee. Maybe some people actually enjoy this tartness- I imagine the same kind of people who really dig Starbucks- but I do not. It was so distracting to me, that I could not enjoy the chocolate notes of the stout itself. What chocolate I did taste, seemed to be a bit artificial, and indeed, the packaging does list artificial flavoring. But I still could have rated this beer as okay, if it weren’t so… flat. It plainly lacked the carbonation a beer should have. It was like how I expect a beer to be when it’s been left out for a couple of hours, or when you’re drinking from some big, shitty pitcher of beer at a sports bar. Actually, I think I’ve had more fizzy beer from a pitcher. I was reading about Young’s on beeradvocate, which gives Young’s fairly high praise, and there was one review that stood out. It said, simply, “I don’t care what the beer snobs say. It’s got all the qualities they describe, but it just doesn’t taste good. If it doesn’t taste good, then it doesn’t deserve a good rating.” I agree with that sentiment. Young’s just doesn’t really taste good. It’s not terrible, but I’m wholly sure there are better chocolate stouts out there. In the land of beers, this is probably one of the few beers I would say that I’d never buy again. First of all, for $10 for 4 cans, it should taste much fucking better. This was the most expensive beer I bought recently, BY A MILE, and it was the most disappointing. Second, it’s so low on the scale of mediocrity, that I would rather take a chance on a completely unfamiliar beer, than to ever buy this again. Even if it was half the price, it’s not even mediocre enough for me to re-purchase on a day where I feel risk averse, and just want to drink something that will taste alright. And finally, this beer won a couple of awards in the late 90’s and early 00’s. But the last award was in 2004, and the awards went “Silver, silver, bronze, bronze.” I suspect it used to be a good beer, and they started making it more cheaply and carelessly, after they’d built a following. Typical marketing bullshit. That’s only speculation, but if you were winning awards every couple of years, and then there’s a ten year lapse, something has maybe gone awry. Vastly over-rated, and over-priced.
The Jockamo IPA
IS IT GOOD?
It’s a pretty good ale, but it’s not a very good IPA.
WHAT IS IT LIKE?
Like disappointment, that’s what. I wanted to cut my teeth for IPA on something familiar, and this was a letdown. Okay, okay. It was kind of grassy and piney, definitely had the hops thing going, had very good carbonation, and was pretty decently balanced. It was tart, dry, bright. It has more flavor than the usual suspects, but a lot of things were just amiss about its labeling. This “IPA” is only 5.5% alcohol. Which I actually feel is a mis-calculation. I can get a buzz on three beers at 3.2%. I couldn’t get a buzz on three Jockamo. I tried! I decanted three of them into a clear tumbler and decided that this is what I was drinking for the night. I went through it in about an hour and a half, and felt nothing at all. If I had done this with my favorite cheap wheat beer (3.2%), I’d have felt something. That’s even accounting for the fact that I usually crack the first cheap beer with dinner on Saturday or Sunday. But with Jockamo, I got nothing, even though I was eating soup for dinner. I don’t know what kind of wizard made this beer, that it can be 2.35% higher than the cheap beer that I can get a buzz on, and not give me a buzz. Even if that 5.5% is accurate… that’s still not really IPA levels, and I’ve had beers that weren’t IPA, that had about the same amount of hops. If you like IPA’s, and want a bitter, hoppy, alcohol-ladden beer, you’re going to be even more disappointed than I was. It’s not a bad beer overall, though. If these are freely available to you, by all means, drink up. If this beer was just called “Jockamo Ale”, I’d give it a recommendation. But I dunno, I sorta feel like the words on the label of a thing should reflect its contents. ILU, Abita, but this isn’t much of an IPA.
I write all my reviews aimed at a “normal people” crowd. If you want proper beer and wine reviews, there are whole websites dedicated to that. This is me, logging what I like, why I like it, and why other people might like it. I do have a professional culinary background, but I don’t look for semi-imaginary flavors in beer and wine. (I’m not saying that some wines don’t taste and smell like “crisp green apples, autumn oak leaves, and a bit of lemon”, but normal people don’t think like that. They think “tart, woodsy apple”.)
I was born in the 80’s, and it was really nice to see that a large volume of the people in the beer aisle, were actually women. Two of them were discussing their likes, and one of them was getting three six packs of Abita Pecan, which was what drew me over to the Jockamo IPA. Another had a variety of beers that I didn’t glean too closely, but they clearly had strong feelings about particular brews. Dear ladies in the beer aisle: You’re the best. Dear beer world: thanks for getting good enough these past couple decades that you stopped just being a thing that only guys drank, mostly to get drunk, and prove that they were manly enough to tolerate the disgusting taste of beer. :3