2/15/19: Listermann Brewing Company's Kris and Remus

4:06 PM

Did y'all have a nice Valentine's Day? Michelle and I went out to dinner, came back, had a drink (beer for me, wine for her) and went to bed. It was uneventful, sure, but it was pretty much my ideal Friday night.

Well, we did all of the above while swinging by a bottle shop between dinner and coming home. The goal was to purchase her wine (which, if you read that first paragraph, you'll know was a successful in that endeavor), but I also was looking for a little something special to write about today: Listermann's Kris, a cheetah beer (it's pretty well documented on the blog and on my Twitter that I'm a big cheetah supporter). I was lucky enough to find it, packaged with its companion stout, Remus. So, today, I'm drinking them both and presenting my thoughts on them to you. Let's get to it.

Listermann is based in Norwood, right across the street from Xavier University. There's a well-written and detailed post about the brewery on their "History" page that you should definitely check out. But, if you just need a refresher, here are the highlights: Dan and Sue Listermann started a homebrew supply company in 1991. A few years later, they opened a physical homebrew shop. In 2008, they began to sell their own beer. Listermann has since become a Queen City staple.

As far as today's beers are concerned, they're both stouts. That's great because it's only 40-something degrees here right now. Kris (named after the single survivor of a cheetah litter) is a 5.5% ABV caramel stout while Remus (named for Kris' companion dog) is a similarly ABV'd vanilla stout. A mixed four-pack of the stouts should run you $11 (I paid $15) and proceeds from the sale benefit the Cincinnati Zoo, which has super great and important cheetah program. Even if these beers bomb (honestly, I'd be shocked if they do), I rest easy knowing that some of the money I spent on them is going to something great.

I'll also note here that a sticker attached to the pack recommends that they're mixed and tried as a cuvée. I'll be doing just that at the bottom of the post.

First up is Kris. It's bouquet is all dark chocolate and coffee up front, with a sweet twinge burgeoning from it. That sweetness is the caramel, which is giving the whole stout a milk stout-sweet quality. I'm here for it, but, unfortunately, Purrl isn't: She gave the can just four whiffs.

The caramel sweetness is on the fore of Kris' flavor. It's deep and rich, pairing incredibly well with the robust roasted malt flavor. This is a good stout for a chilly day like today--the kind of day cheetahs aren't particularly cut out for. There's some slight vanilla flavor here, but I'm willing to bet that's just a product of how the caramel's reacting to the malt. The aftertaste is black dark roast coffee. I'd been worried that the stout might be a little too sweet for my liking (a pastry stout), but I'm relieved to say that's not the case.

This stout is creamy. Like a milk stout. Like a cream ale. That creamy.

Overall, Kris is an easy 8.5/10

At first waft, Remus doesn't have the same deep roastiness as Kris; it's tempered by the vanilla. Remus' bouquet makes it a more approachable stout, warm and inviting from the vanilla. More milk chocolate than dark chocolate. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I'm more drawn to this nose than that of it's sister. Purrl, however, doesn't agree with me--she gave Remus two whiffs before pulling away.

The stout's flavor profile is just as inviting. Instead of black, dark roast, it's more deep and dark hot chocolate--chalk it up to the vanilla. There's a bitterness in Kris that isn't as prevalent in Remus, making it a stout more appealing to my palate. Compounding this, the sweetness isn't as played up here, either, making it just a touch tastier than it's companion.

The mouthfeel on Remus? Identical to that of Kris. Maybe a little less oomph. Just a hair less. But really, this is the same base beer and it feels like it.

I have to give Remus a 9.0/10.

Okay, now for the fun bit. The cuvée. Purrl's taking a backseat for this. I've tried to make the mixture 50-50 but I'm not actually measuring it so your mileage may vary.

The bouquet of the cuvée is more than the sum of its parts. The aromatics of the caramel and the vanilla mingle to give the beer a bite, as sweetness similar to what you'd find on the nose of a root beer, alcoholic or otherwise.

On the flavor front, the cuvée is exactly the sum of its parts. Vanilla, caramel, chocolate (more dark than milk), and black coffee, with a kick of vanilla in the finish. It's exactly what I'd wanted.

I'll not get into the mouthfeel. It hasn't changed.

For one of Michelle's birthdays, just a few years after we'd started dating, we went to Cincinnati Zoo. While there, because I'm me, we spent some time at the cheetah run. We took in a show, where a cheetah cashed a mechanized animal around the pit and a zookeeper (I'm aware that's probably a dated term--zoologist or conservationist may closer to the mark but I don't really know) gave the cat some pets and told us about it and the plight its kind's been facing for the entirety of my life. I can't help but think of that sunny April day while sitting here imbibing Listermann's addition to the cheetah beer canon.

This is the part where I sum everything up and rate the beer. But, since I've already done that, I'd like to take a moment to thank Listermann for doing this. They've always been big proponents of the Cincinnati Zoo (see their Fiona and Kendi beers). But to do something like this with a cheetah spin is great. Cheetahs are literally in a race against extinction and more people need to be aware of exactly how close we are to losing them forever. Thank you, good people at Listermann, for these beers. They're sweet. They're good. They're just what I want.

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