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Squatter’s Outer Darkness: A Beer to Break the Summer Doldrums

I don’t know about you, but for me Summer is beginning to D…r…….a….gggggg. Yes, there is only so many sunny warm days an unemployed guy can take.  Seriously it has been so hot here nobody goes outside, the house has that artificially cool feel to it, and every time I do step outside it is so hot I can’t wait to get back in and start the cycle of boredom all over again.  Being inside is boring, but it beats burning in the fires of hell.

So, how to break the cycle, or better yet, what beer helps to break the cycle of summer doldrums?  Well, I think I found my answer the other night.  Since my stockpile of great beer is really beginning to wane down to just those bottles I am saving for the end of the world, I went out to my favorite watering hole Brewforia.

They had the anticipated IPAs, wheat brews, pilsners, and other summer fare on the tap list.  And I did partake in them.  I began with a very nice Elysian IPA that was flavored with Rosemary.  It tasted like it would go great with roast chicken.  Then I spied another favorite of mine, a 2011 Old Stock Ale by North Coast Brewing.  I love this beer, and sometimes a barleywine in the summer is just what the doctored ordered.  But such were my case of the doldrums that not even a fantastic old ale could break them.

But then, in the corner of the taplist I saw it.  A Squatter’s Outer Darkness Russian Imperial Stout.  Now most stuff from Squatter’s is pretty pedestrian.  Probably their best known brew is Polygamy Porter for obvious reasons.  But Outer Darkness is a beer that they brewed since several other breweries have gotten into the game down in Salt Lake City, and I think the old dog had something to prove, because this brew is a fantastic stout.

There are so many different things I liked about this beer.  First, it is good at all temperatures.  So many stouts taste like crap until they warm up and become those rich, roasty, caramelly, and boozy treats that we all love.  Personally it was really nice to get a stout that tasted good cold, and that I didn’t have to freeze my hands off warming it up.  It drinks sweet, creamy and smooth when it is cold, almost like a beer popsicle.  As it warms the roasty flavors make their appearance, and then as it warms further there is a great boozy kick in the end.  It drinks great all the way through.

Next thing I love about this beer is the mouthfeel.  I am of the opinion that watery mouthfeel is the bane of any beer’s existence once you get past amber on the color spectrum.  This one was creamy as can be and it really added to my enjoyment all the way through.  Finally RISs notoriously get over the top and out of balance.  Either the roastiness is too much and it gets bitter, or they try to  put too much alcohol in it and those phenols over take the flavor and they end up completely out of whack.  Not the case here.  This beer is roasty enough to tantalize your taste buds, creamy enough to please your palate, and boozy enough to bite you in the backside if you aren’t careful.  Yes at 10.5% it can get away from you if you let it.

This beer pulled me back from the brink of being overcome by the summer doldrums.  Do you have a go to brew that can help you cope when the dog days begin to drag?  Let us know in the comments.

-Don

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16 Comments on “Squatter’s Outer Darkness: A Beer to Break the Summer Doldrums”

  1. August 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    “So, how to break the cycle, or better yet, what beer helps to break the cycle of summer doldrums?”

    I know, I know! Write blog posts!!!

    • Don
      August 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      whatdya think I just did? Duh!

  2. rob
    August 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    I agree 100% with your review of Outer Darkness.

    • Don
      August 3, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      It’s a brilliant beer Rob. I have had it once before from the bottle, and really loved it, but on tap it was amazing. Really glad I got some.

  3. August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    I got a glass or two while it was on tap, too. And it was on tap for quite a while. I guess others weren’t in the mood for such a beer in this summer heat. But I was. Nice change of pace. And you’re right, it’s a great RIS, and if I recall the bottles have a nice price point, too.

    • Don
      August 3, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      I haven’t bought any bottles, yet. That Squatters label is a bit of a repellent for me, but no more, at least not for this beer. Hope you are right about that price point!

  4. August 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Lagunitas’ A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ has done the trick for me this Summer. Hoppy, but different.

    • Don
      August 3, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      You know I’ve seen this a hundred times, and never tried it. I don’t really have a good excuse, just something else caught my eye, but I will pick one up on your reco, next time I’m buying beer.

  5. August 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Went to the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas earlier this summer and when it came time to choose my dessert beer, I went with Squatters Outer Darkness. Also ordered the Moth’s caramel and pretzel ice cream. Both were fabulous…but together? Best beer float I could ever imagine. Just the memory of it keeps me out of the summer doldrums.

    • Don
      August 3, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      That sounds fantastic, especially given this beer’s creaminess and sweetness. I can see where it would make a fantastic beer float, especially with caramel Pretzel ice cream. They must have some sort of wonderful mad genius working at the Meddlesome Moth!

  6. August 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    If I could lay my hands on that Outer Darkness, that’d do the trick. Failing that Schlafly’s Stout would be a great change of pace from the summer beers.

    Speaking of summer beer: I had some Shiner’s Ruby Redbird on draft last week. That was an ‘interesting’ experience–a very tart shandy (grapefruit juice vice lemonade.) It’d probably make a good mowin’ beer though.

    • August 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      Have you tried the Stiegl Grapefruit Radler? Wow, that’s a good lawn beer.

    • Don
      August 3, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      I don’t know if they distribute out your way Wayne. Probably not, but you are likely to be better able to get something from Squatters than other Utah breweries perhaps, given their age and size. Polygamy Porter has done wonders for their rep throughout the US, even though it is rather pedestrian brown beer.

  7. August 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    You should keep an eye out for Elysian’s Split Shot Stout. It’s an espresso milk stout that they made for Seattle Beer Week. They’re doing a bit of an extra release in bottles. It’s perfection at room temp, but still really good cold.

    • Don
      August 3, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      On the radar…check! Sounds like a great beer. Looking forward to it.

  8. August 4, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Damn, that description made my mouth water. Even though it’s hot as hell here right now I’m CRAVING a good RIS or any huge Stout honestly. One beer that can help my “summer blues” is Double Bastard. Always cheers me up haha.

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