7/10/20: Streetside Brewery's Black is Beautiful

9:23 AM

This is a special, un-announced post because, well, I wasn't sure I'd be able to find this beer. We'll get into Black is Beautiful in a bit, but it's a big collaboration effort spanning breweries the world over. I wasn't sure what the distribution footprint of any one variant would be, so I was super excited when I found a four-pack of Streetside's on store shelves yesterday. I'm hoping I run into other breweries' spins on it in the wild, too.

Also, this is my first ever Streetside beer! What a beer to introduce them to both me and the blog. Let's see how it's drinking.

First, though, let's talk a little about the Black is Beautiful collaboration. It was conceptualized by Marcus Baskerville, Founder and Head Brewer of San Antonio, TX's Weathered Souls Brewing. He crafted a recipe and encouraged other breweries to use it (and modify it as they saw fit) while donating profits to organizations that would work for the benefit of Black lives in each brewery's local area. Breweries joining in the effort also pledge to work toward equality within their organization.

This is a phenomenal initiative and I'm happy to see some big names in the Ohio craft scene joining in (although two of my favorite Cincinnati breweries aren't participating [yet]).

Streetside is one of the handful of Cincinnati breweries that have signed on to brew a version of Black is Beautiful. Headquartered in the city's Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood, the brewery's offerings span just about every style you can imagine. Here's their "Our Story" page.

Their variation of Black is Beautiful keeps the 10% ABV of Baskerville's original Imperial Stout recipe but features the addition of macadamia and coconut coffee. According to news outlet Local 12, proceeds from the stout's sales will support Riverview East Academy, the neighborhood's Cincinnati Public School.

Black is Beautiful has a complex bouquet. Sure, I get coffee, that's easy. I also find a sweet, milk sugar note. Beyond that, though, is where the complexity comes in. Both the coconut and macadamia are present, and they mingle to impart notes that come off as marshmallow and vanilla. It's deep, dark, and roasty. There's dark chocolate, and stone fruit (primarily plum and date). One aspect missing from the nose is booze--there's no smack of it, which, with the stout's ABV, I was expecting to find. Purrl gave my can seven whiffs. She's not super big on stouts, but it seems like she can get behind this one.

The stout's flavor profile isn't as complex as its nose, but that's okay. It's pretty damn sweet, though. Pastry stout-like. If you like your dark beers to be on the less-sweet side, this Black is Beautiful may not quite be for you. Here, I'll break it down: Big, hearty roasty stout flavors (dark and chocolate malt, with the coffee notes they impart) are the first tastes on my tongue, Then, the sweetness comes in, all caramel, toffee, raisins, and milk sugar notes. Finally, there's a woody quality as the beer washes down just before the long, sweet finish. I get a little more booze here than in the bouquet, but I wouldn't know it was 10% if the label didn't spell it out for me.

Streetside's Black is Beautiful is more bitey than I would've thought. I had expected (for absolutely no reason) something velvety smooth.

Usually when I do these reviews, I don't mention how a beer looks. But because it's Black is Beautiful and I expect it to pour out the color of motor oil, I put a little in a snifter. To my delight, it is motor oil black. The head is a medium-laced tan that dissipates pretty quickly.

I'm skipping out on the whole memory portion of this. Instead, I'll encourage you to donate to organizations in your area the support BIPOC, frequent and purchase from BIPOC businesses, learn about the history of our country's systemic racism and actively work against it in operation now, and amplify BIPOC voices.

Streetside's entry into the worldwide Black is Beautiful collaboration is an experience. I'm really glad that so many Cincy-based breweries are getting involved. But, as good as the beer is, I have personal grievances with it. Mainly, I'm not a pastry stout guy, and this is just a tad to sweet for me to rank it in the upper-echelon of stouts. Still, it's good. 8.0/10 good. Grab it (or any other Black is Beautiful beer) when you encounter it. Kudos to Streetside for making it and massive thanks to Marcus Baskerville for getting all the wheels on this turning.

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