1/31/19: Geo. Wiedemann Brewing Company's Wake Me Up Hazelnut Coffee Milk Stout

4:00 PM

How's your January been? Cold? Yeah, ours too. We're just now starting to emerge from that polar vortex that's wrapped New England and the Midwest up tight the last few days.

All that cold's been making me sleepy. I get home from work, pull on my sweatpants, light a fire, and veg out while trying to stave off bedtime until a reasonable hour. Tonight, I'm thinking a little kick might help. That kick is coming in the form of Wiedemann's Wake Me Up (which, by the way, may make for an exceptional breakfast beer, if you're into that sort of thing. This is, and has been, a judgement-free zone--unless you happen to be a beer).

Wiedemann is a historic name in Greater Cincinnati beer. In 1870, George Wiedemann (who was the head brewer for a brewery in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine) moved across the river to co-found a brewery in Newport, KY. Eight years later, George bought out his partner and changed the brewery's name to mirror his own. Since then, the brewery's changed hands and recipes have been altered. Now, however, the Wiedemann brand is back where it belongs: Greater Cincinnati; St. Bernard, to be exact. Owners Austin Smith and Steve Shaw have even gone back to some of the original recipes, while forging ahead with their own ideas.

One such idea is Wake Me Up (that link'll take you to a list of Wiedemann's brews), a milk stout brewed with hazelnut and coffee. At 6.04% ABV, the brew has notes of--you guessed it--coffee and hazelnut, as well as vanilla.

The hazelnut sits at the very fore of the nose. It pairs well with the vanilla sweetness of the stout, and it's an incredibly friendly greeting to the beer. Behind it I find the coffee, which also has a perfect pair in the stout: the roasted malt. It's all hazelnut, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, toffee, candied sugar, and some slight caramel. It's a shining bouquet for a beer like this. Henrietta, who managed to sit still enough to be photographed, seemed to like it well enough, giving my can twelve whiffs.

Everything I picked up in the nose is present in stout's flavor, along with the slightest hint of peanut butter. It seems like it's somewhat rare to find a beer these days where the bouquet and taste are perfectly aligned, and I'm happy to count Wake Me Up amongst those rarities.

The mouthfeel on this isn't quite what I'd expect from a milk stout. Yes, it's full. Yes, there's a creaminess to it. But it's brighter than every other offering from the style. There's a tiny bite here that is a good match for the brew's coffee flavor.

For a month towards the end of my master's at Ohio University, Michelle and I lived in a blue house with slopey floors. It was April---spring was in full swing. The mornings were cool and the days were warm. The house, though, was always cool and, in the mornings, much colder than the world outside. I typically had morning classes and Michelle did not. I'd wake up before her, make coffee and breakfast, and leave before she was even fully awake.

I'd take my morning meals outside. The house's porch faced eastward, so I'd settle down on one of its chairs, eat my food, and nurse my coffee while I watched the rest of our neighborhood (which was mostly college kids) wake up.

Wake Me Up would've been a perfect fit for those mornings. Wiedemann's has worked some kind of magic on this milk stout; it's instantly familiar while being totally unlike other beer I've had. It's roughly $11/four-pack, but that's an easy price to pay. I'm giving it a 9.5/10. I recommend picking some of this stuff up whenever you can. As an aside: It's done a perfectly fine job keeping me awake for the last hour or so.

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