11/1/21: Roak Brewing Company's French Toast Devil Dog

3:35 PM

Maple Month's roaring right in this year. The weather's attained a sustained chill. I've spent the better part of the day writing my heart out for NaNoWrimo and working for the man so it's time, at long last, to break into a beer.

I'll drop the fanfare here and get right to it: Today I'm drinking Roak's French Toast Devil Dog. I had initially hoped to do a two-for post, featuring this and its BBA variant but a quick glance at the ABVs of the stouts led me to think better of that plan.

There's not a ton of info regarding Roak's story over on their "About" page: just a short note from CEO John Leone. The brewery, opened in Royal Oak, MI back in 2015, strives to bring their community the finest beers possible. 

French Toast Devil Dog doesn't have a functional spot on Roak's website (it's BBA brother does, however), so we'll turn, as always, to Untappd for the details pertinent to this post: This is an 8.3% ABV variant of Roak's Devil Dog Oatmeal Stout that features "...the unmistakable taste of Sunday morning French toast."

I adore a beer whose bouquet perfectly replicates its inspiration. Unfortunately, in a world full of pastry stouts, this is an increasingly rare occurrence. I'm damn pleased to report that the nose on French Toast Devil Dog is an exact match for the aroma of a plate of maple-smothered French toast. There's a heavy helping of maple syrup, there's vanilla, there's cinnamon, and there's even (I assure you that I mean this in the best possible way) an egginess to the affair that only adds to the authenticity. Purrl gave my bottle four whiffs, meaning that, while she's able to appreciate what the stout's doing, it's not really her thing. 

The front end of French Toast DD's flavor profile is all oatmeal stout richness. Dark chocolate and coffee notes permeate the stout's viscosity. Then, in the back of my swig, I'm finding those French toast notes promised by the bouquet. While these aren't as heavy as they were on the nose, the stout's still a full-flavored beer, and one that practically barks breakfast

For a beer of this heft, I expected a little bit of a syrupy quality to how it drinks. But, nope. It's an American oatmeal stout: smooth and light, with a good bite of carbonation.

Earlier this year, Michelle and I went on a cabin trip with her family. For breakfast one day, we had homemade French toast. While this wasn't new to me (I grew up in a family that ate French toast on the regular), the sheer amount of powdered sugar we coated our slices with was. It was heaven. Mixed with the savoriness of the toast itself and the added sweetness of the homeboiled syrup, and it made for a perfect cabin breakfast. That's what French Toast Devil Dog encapsulates, coffee and all.

This first beer from Roak is a strong start to Maple Month. Imagine: a stout of the caliber right out the gate. I wonder how its BBA variant will drink. My bottle warrants a 9.0/10. If's flavorful, it's mapley, and, most importantly, it's a good beer.

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