With its heavy blanket of snow and howling icy winds, Winter proper may be a little delayed in my cozy corner of rural Vermont. But now that the chill is finally creeping into the air and threatening intermittent blasts of inclement weather, the arrival of more season-appropriate weather brings with it a craving for heavier, darker brews to warm the belly. After spending an evening by the fire with a pint of Magic Hat’s Heart of Darkness, I can say it certainly rises to the occasion.
Available only between October 15th and January 15th, Heart of Darkness is a seasonal dry stout that doesn’t skimp on flavor or personality.
Label – A single purple-pink eyeball gazes deep into my soul. It pierces my psyche, commanding me to drink it. I oblige most willingly.
Appearance – True to its moniker, Heart of Darkness pours ominously black with a thin beige head that retreats quickly without leaving much of a trace. I am sad to see it go. Sad pandas dying sadly.
Aroma – Subtle roastiness and a faint tickling of chocolate mingle with coffee and a deceptive whiff of currents. Not nearly as rocking on the nose as it is on the mouth.
Taste – A smooth starter, this wicked brew quickly summons bold favors to the palate in the form of strong chocolate and malts that dance along the tongue like little devil monkeys making crazy devil monkey love. There’s a slight sweetness that’s well-balanced by moderate hop bitterness that doesn’t overpower the complex flavors. The hoppy whip towards the tail end lends a light fruity quality to this dark beauty, which finishes with residual coffee and caramel notes. A touch of alcohol warmth joins the party mid-way, hinting at a little more ABV muscle underneath its shirt sleeves. By the end of the pint, those babies start to roll up a little.
Overall– A lot of good things are put into play with this flavorful Vermont brew that’s busy on the tongue without being too heavy on the gut. Not sessionable by any means, but crazy drinkable. You’ll crave a second and third pint even as the heartier 5.7 ABV starts to weave its tendrils around your noggin. A pleasant pal for weathering a chilly snowed-in evening by the roaring hearth.